What dictators in that region can't fathom is how a democracy works. How President Obama could back down on the use of force because the American people and their congressional representatives didn't want another Middle East war. Such populist power is unknown in Arab countries. Yet it would be a big mistake to hold the view the US has chickened -out of the fray.
Hearing about atrocities and suffering halfway across the world doesn't tend to hit close to home. The people feel distant and the language is foreign; it's too far. Standing at the edge of the Za'atari camp in Jordan listening to the sound of explosions from just across the border in Syria, suddenly it didn't feel so far anymore.
Another mass shooting, more panic on the streets of America. The images we witnessed are all too familiar. There were heroic first responders, crouching and crawling with their rifles. We saw unfurling police tape and flashing blue lights and terror stricken civilians fleeing the since. And now in the aftermath, the discussions into the gunman's motives are being exhaustively debated.
Given that many of the world's leaders are pointing their fingers in blame for the 21 August chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1,400 people straight at Syrian President Bashar Assad, the role the PR campaign that in the last week he, along with one of his greatest (and most powerful) allies, President Putin of Russia, has waged has certainly been surprising.
Unlike a military intervention in Syria, providing sufficient support to the country's refugees is something that should require no debate. The UN has appealed to the world to plug the $2billion shortfall of funds needed now to keep the seven million people displaced by the conflict safe and healthy.
It seems that every time the Labour Party hits the headlines, the bad smell of hypocrisy and double standards rears its ugly head. In case you don't know it, 'bad smell of hypocrisy and double standards' is my nickname for Tony Blair. Yes, the silver-haired war-monger is back, and he is just as obstinate and narcissistic as ever.
I used to argue that it would make a welcome change if - just occasionally - politicians answered a question with the words: "I don't know." I didn't expect the President of the United States to take me seriously. Should the US launch a military strike against Syria? Obama: Don't know. Is Russia serious in its chemical weapons initiative? Don't know. There's a part of me that welcomes such refreshing candour. But to be honest, it's only a very small part of me.