© Chappatte in "International Herald Tribune"
This cartoon by Chappatte from The International Herald Tribune features a well-known English idiom. If you box yourself into a corner, you get yourself into a difficulty from which you can't extricate oneself. For example, By volunteering to do more work in the office and then taking a freelance job, George has boxed himself into a corner.
A year after President Obama warned the Syrian regime that using chemical weapons would cross a red line, Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces stand accused of killing hundreds in a gas attack. The attack raises new concerns that the so-called "red line" in Syria has been crossed, violated and effectively ignored. The situation compounds the Mideast challenges facing the Obama administration, as his national security team continues to deliberate on how to handle the unrest in Egypt -- another trouble spot where the U.S. is keeping itself at a distance. (source: Fox News)
In the cartoon Obama is shown reading a statement saying that Mr. Assad has boxed himself into a corner (by using chemical weapons), but in reality it is Obama who has boxed himself (and the US military) into a corner with his "red line" threat. If he does nothing, he will appear weak, but if he decides to intervene, the consequences could be disastrous (look what happened in Iraq).
A variation of "box oneself into a corner" is to "paint oneself into a corner", an idiom which is often used as the basis for cartoons (see here for examples).
• Obama's options on enforcing the red line (Aljazeera)
• Has Syria crossed Obama's 'red line'? (SFGate)
• What, exactly, is a 'red line'? (The Spectator)
• Syria: when ‘red lines’ make the headlines (The Spectator)
• Decoding Netanyahu's 'Red Line' Against Iran (Voice of America)