The situation in Syria is growing worse and worse, excellent case of foreign policy run amok, at least on behalf of the United States of America. Here, a look at the situation in an international affairs context.
The “Right to Protect,” or R2P, is a concept in international diplomacy that details that one country can intervene in another country’s internal affairs on humanitarian grounds, such as an incidence of genocide. Unlike the Iraq War, in which America and our allies invaded to protect ourselves from supposed “weapons of mass destruction,” or the NATO bombing of Libya, (to finally get rid of “Mad Dog” Muammar Gaddhafi) the Syrian Civil War is arguably a prime example of a need for R2P…depending who is reporting the news correctly.
Just like the current sorry state of affairs in Egypt, there has been a bit of a brouhaha, he-said she-said going on in the news like a game of two teenagers squabbling. The US et al. maintain that Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian Army used chemical weapons on the citizens of Ghouta, but other reports (including one memorable interview given to a Russian newspaper) insist that the Syrian Free Army (rebels) in fact used it. In my opinion, whoever used the chemical weapons is of crucial importance, but in the long run it doesn’t matter: the US has finally found something unbelievably terrifying to use as their excuse for intervention.
However, as much as I am hoping against hope that the American government has not fabricated evidence against another foreign government, I believe that a “trigger” is not really needed here to intervene. Although I am wary of R2P, I ask: what would the USA possibly gain from attacking Syria? Economically Syria doesn’t have anything of great and impressive value; up until the start of the protests in Syria the US government had no public ill-will towards Bachar Al-Assad and his regime. Thus, I believe this is a true case worthy of the Right to Protect.
The good: the US doesn’t want to do it alone, which means it’s not alone trying to flex its muscle power. However, President Barack Obama should leave the decision to invade to his countrymen. Our tax dollars would fund any military operation in Syria. And while I don’t think most of America is qualified to make any sort of informed decision on whether or not to intervene, shouldn’t it still be our choice? Our money, our soldiers (who aren’t going to protect OUR country), our world reputation, our choice!
R2P is tricky, and in the early stages of this conflict I was inclined to agree to an intervention of some capacity. But now I feel adamantly against it, for one single reason: if the USA attacks Syria, it looks like World War 3 is about to explode.
America won’t do anything unless it’s allies back it up. Sound like one of the other world wars, anyone? This time around, though, Britain is definitely bowing out (good plan). Russia and China are firmly on the Syrian government’s side (hello, Cold War!) and will probably have a lot to say if we do anything. Iran, who I never knew to be bosom buddies with Syria, is now threatening to bomb Israel. Where did Israel come into this? Oh, and Qatar, too. Last time I checked, Qatar was helping keep the peace in the Middle East, not stoking the fires. Turkey is now chomping at the bit for something to happen. Throughout all this, there are apparently Al-Qaeda members infiltrating the melee who would love to just add to the chaos, I’m sure.
Syria needs help. Whether the rebels or Assad’s army fired the chemical weapon gas, the use of such weapons has escalated the fight to a whole new level. Children are dying; something must be done. But the USA has no business going into Syria alone: let the American people vote on it, since it is their money and family members. Even if Obama only wants to “strike” the country and not bomb it or start a full-out war, things can easily escalate. That being said, why does Obama want to go warmongering when so many other states can be affected negatively by the attack? We certainly don’t need Iran bombing Israel, or Qatar; we certainly don’t need Lebanon to be engulfed by the war next door. We certainly don’t need Russia to have another reason to hate us, or the general Arab population for that matter.
Isn’t there another way? Isn’t there some way to cut off Al-Assad without bombing him, like doing a complete blockade? What about sending a covert mission in to, say, to steal Assad’s weapon stock/break his tanks and military weapons? How about destroying all of the airline strips in the country (when planes aren’t taking off, obviously, so no one is hurt) and having Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon block anybody trying to go into Turkey (i.e., Russian supply convoys)?
It just seems incredible that a rag-tag army of inexperienced rebels and one relatively small army are tearing one relatively small country to absolute pieces.
That seems like a peaceful approach, inchallah, God willing!