Being a big cheese is not what it used to be.
Many people exert themselves to become commanders-in-chief, but once in place, they find out that the job is not the cushy bed of roses they thought it would be.
In modern democracies, a head of state is seldom free to pursue what he wishes to do.
You might wear a big hat and carry a big stick, but you still need that pesky approval of Congress or Parliament to swing that stick.
David Cameron was willing to give his support to the US to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons, but the British parliament had other ideas. They said no. The UK is not America’s poodle anymore.
And not much is being said in the US about their lack of resolve.
Now, (ah the irony) it is the Frog Eaters (those filthy cowards) who are willing to help Uncle Sam.
But you don’t hear much about this in the US press.
Many Americans are still in a “Freedom Fries” mood and they prefer fish n’ chips to filet mignon.
Barack Obama is now in the unenviable position of being damned if he does, and equally damned if he doesn’t.
After Iraq and Afghanistan the president would be inclined to avoid involvement in another conflict, but he is almost forced to make the unpalatable decision to go to war for fear of being accused to be a “paper tiger”.
And the US, being the champion of the free world cannot afford to make empty threats.
But getting involved in a conflict could have unforeseen consequences.
Nobody thought that the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo would have such a bloody outcome.
In four years of fighting there was about 16 millions casualties in WWI, with France alone losing 1, 357,800 men.
By comparison, as of August 2013, there have been 3274 coalition deaths in Afghanistan, with 2161 casualties on the American side.
An American intervention in Syria, while morally desirable, could trigger a chain reaction and set the entire Middle East (the world?) ablaze.
Most European nations having felt the devastating effects of two world wars are not keen to get involved in another quagmire involving volatile Muslim nations.
But if nobody objects and punishes the criminals who used chemical weapons, what will be next? Indiscriminate (accepted) use of chemical weapons?
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.