Kathleen Parker: In Syria, being wise is more important than standing our ground

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Even so, lawmakers, including John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi, are lining up to support the president's plan for missile strikes. Let's hope that whatever the outcome, our best efforts have been directed by an abundance of caution rather than a prideful attachment to credibility. This is not to say that credibility isn't important, but the measure of one's credibility isn't only whether a nation is willing to stand its ground. It is also whether a nation is willing to be wise.

The U.S. still carries the biggest stick. We are still the bravest, most compassionate, generous nation in the history of mankind. When our allies need us, our credibility is beyond reproach. We always act decisively when the stakes are clear. The world knows this. It is our exceptional history, not a single, transitory man, that inspires belief.

And sometimes, it is helpful to note, a coiled snake is more effective than one that reflexively strikes.

Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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