What a difference ten days makes. A little more than a week ago, President Obama delivered an address from the Rose Garden where he declared, "After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets." At that moment he became the loneliest person in the world.
The international community doesn't support his war.
Congress will not support his war.
And the American people certainly do not support his war.
Over the past ten days, friends and foes alike from die hard liberals to staunch conservatives have been clear and united in their message: do not involve America in yet another war.
Why? It is a religious civil war. It will escalate. There is no imminent U.S. national security interest at stake.
Tuesday night, after failing to gain virtually any support internationally or at home for his cause, the president made one last pitch to the American people. He didn't make the sale.
This is personal for the president. It is all about the red line he claims he never drew.
He is supposed to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world and his credibility is on the line.
In reality, his credibility is long gone. America going to war will not bring it back. As recent events have shown, because his foreign policy in the Middle East is inconsistent at best, he is no longer taken seriously.
Tuesday night, President Obama once again assured Americans that his "unbelievably small" limited-but-not-a-pinprick strike will not escalate into a larger war. Yet again, he is promising something he cannot guarantee.
The Assad regime may not have the ability to retaliate, but Hezbollah, Russia and Iran do.
There are several ways this could play out. They are all bad and they all lead to further escalation and America involved in another war in the Middle East.
What is the goal of this mission? An American strike will not guarantee that Assad will not use chemical weapons again. Chances are he did not empty out his chest the first time. What will we do if he goes for round two, strike again? Some reports say that he has chemical weapons at 50 different sites.
The president also focused on the fact that Syria has violated international law. He is referring to the Chemical Weapons Convention signed by all but five nations (including Syria). Where in that treaty does it say that if the treaty is broken, the United States can retaliate unilaterally? More importantly, where are the other 188 nations now? Nowhere to be found.
Tuesday we learned of a possible second "reset" with Russia who has offered to help facilitate Syria surrendering its weapons to the international community.
Just this week, Putin called our chief diplomat a liar, now we are clinging to him for a diplomatic Hail Mary? There is no telling whether Putin and Assad are serious or if President Obama is being duped.
Of course, Russia's bargaining chip comes with strings attached: a guarantee that America will not strike militarily.
Are you kidding me?
Putin may allow the president to save face. In the meantime Russia is replacing the United States as the dominant force and better broker for peace in the region. The Syrian-Russian-Iran axis will be stronger than ever. Well played, Putin.
Finally, Tuesday night the president arrogantly attempted to take credit for this possible diplomatic Hail Mary by implying that Assad would never have come to the table if it were not for his fake war drums.
Mr. President, come back from Never Never Land.
Americans turned off their televisions Tuesday night more confused than ever. The American people do not know still don't know what our foreign policy is in the Middle East. While the president is waiting to make a decision, Congress should go ahead and vote on whether or not to take military action in Syria.
It will be soundly defeated.
Meanwhile, what's the president's next move?
Only time will tell.
As we have seen, everything can change in ten days. To this White House, "all options on the table" means "I still don't know what to do."
Republican Ted Poe represents Texas' Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade.