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Syria and the Chemical Weapons TabooExploiting the Forbidden$
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Michelle Bentley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526104717

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526104717.001.0001

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Setting the redline

Setting the redline

(p.39) 2 Setting the redline
Syria and the Chemical Weapons Taboo

Michelle Bentley

Manchester University Press

Chapter 2 applies the strategic interpretation outlined previously to US foreign policy on Syria, explicitly understood as a reference to Obama’s redline. It demonstrates that this is not the hardline ultimatum it was made out to be; but is in fact a calculated construct that expresses Obama’s own preferences concerning US involvement in the crisis. Specifically, it analyses Obama’s real intentions in setting the redline to reveal that these have been misinterpreted. More specifically, that pre-existing ideas surrounding the chemical weapons taboo have caused Obama’s statement to be misconstrued as a be-all-and-end-all of US foreign policy on Syria. It examines the wider policy context at the time to demonstrate that this interpretation was diametrically opposed to Obama’s professed position and that the redline actually comprises a much softer and moderate allusion to the taboo.

Keywords:   Chemical taboo, Obama, Intention, US foreign policy, Syria

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