“The price of greatness is responsibility” – Winston Churchill
I am not a Democrat, nor a Republican. I am not a liberal, nor a conservative. I am an American and a humanitarian. I do not like war or the idea of putting American lives in jeopardy but I believe in human rights and I believe that the G8 countries, especially the United States, have a responsibility to help people who cannot help themselves. I believe the United States should get involved in Syria.
I have been saying for over a year now that the situation in Syria is dire and the people of Syria need help from the west-much like I said about Libya. I am not talking about the Assad government or the Al Qaeda loyalist rebels. I think both sides are awful and both are committing atrocities. I am talking about the ordinary citizens, women and children of Syria who cannot simply escape to a neighboring country. I have been to Syria and the people I came across were wonderful to me and do not deserve this.
The Assad autocracy is and always has been that-a brutal dictatorship. It is not much different than other dictatorships that have fallen in the Middle East over the past several years or that still exist in places like Iran. The biggest difference is that Syria is really of little consequence to the world.
They are a very small oil producer as far as Middle Eastern countries go. Before the war started they produced about 400,000 barrels a day and now it is said they are down to 100,000 barrels a day-a fraction of the production of the richer Gulf nations. So aside from some oil, Syria offers nothing overly important to the Western world.
So why should we care that over 100,000 Syrians have died and that they were gassed by their own government? Why should we, the United States of America, risk our own people and resources after more than a decade of fighting two fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The answer is simple. We are the United States of America; the richest country with the most powerful military, and nobody else will do it if we don’t! We have a higher responsibility than any other nation. As Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here”.
I don’t like war. I don’t want any Americans to lose their lives and if we stick to the no boots on the ground policy that may be possible-although I have my doubts about how possible that will be. Europeans, often pacifists, don’t want to get involved in Syria. Some Western European governments are still reeling from their involvement in the other recent wars at the United States’ behest and that’s understandable to a point.
But so what?!
So if Europe doesn’t want to get involved and the United States doesn’t do anything, then what happens?
The rich Arab countries or a country like Turkey will never take military action in Syria; the risks are too high for them culturally, ethnologically and economically. They simply want the west to do their dirty work. They want stability in the region to not disrupt their oil scam but don’t want to get their hands dirty.
Russia and China? Forget it! Aside from blocking any sort of military action as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with full veto rights, they’d never do anything. Russia has a lucrative trade agreement with Syria. Russia doesn’t even acknowledge what has occurred or is occurring plus they want to maintain theoretical control and keep the US out of the region. The Russian President is a complete ass who lives in his own fantasy Czar-land riding horses with his shirt off.
Putin and the joke that is the United Nations are laughable. The UN wants to wait until these so called inspectors have filed their report. Then there will be more “diplomacy” and votes and talking and eventually nothing will happen when the UN peacekeepers should’ve been involved a year ago. Rwanda anyone? This is so obvious, how can the UN and the global community allow this to happen again!?
So that leaves the United States to pick up the pieces yet again and help a nation that cannot help itself against a ruthless dictator.
Americans don’t want this. The US doesn’t relish this role. President Obama doesn’t want to go into Syria at all but since nobody is going to-we have to! President Obama must act or he risks a Syrian genocide as his foreign policy legacy.
If not, where will it end? It won’t and other rogue nations like Iran, North Korea, terrorist groups or others will see weakness in the United States. They’ll figure they can get away with what they want because the US won’t do anything as they don’t want anymore war.
Of course we don’t want more war, but that’s not an excuse to allow innocent people to die in a brutal fashion.
This situation is awful and I don’t envy President Obama with his decision but I do think it is the right one to get involved in Syria. He must act.
Although he made it a campaign pledge, I did disagree with him going to Congress for permission, although it appears he may have the votes necessary to secure a blessing from Congress. However, if he doesn’t, he really boxed himself in.
Aside from being humiliated on a global stage (as David Cameron was recently), he sets himself up to go it alone without Congressional or public International support: aside from Cameron and apparently the new French President as France has some interests in Syria. But who knows what will happen with those allies or other passive countries like Germany.
However it happens, the United States needs to be involved in Syria because no one else will. I was against the war in Iraq for lack of clarity of the goal and of course a misguided and ill-informed reason for going in the first place. I was for the war in Afghanistan at first as a direct result of 9/11 but years of fighting an unknown enemy with no exit strategy or victory makes one forget why we went in the first place.
For the last century, the United States, whether we like it or not are the world’s police. We didn’t ask for it, nor particularly like it, but we are held to a higher responsibility by ourselves and the world; and we must act.
You could see the frustration on Obama’s face when he made his decision public: his frustration with the rest of the world and the United Nations. I agree with John McCain that we should have done this a long time ago but it must happen now and I hope European nations form a coalition to assist the US although I am not hopeful.
Critics will say that Obama wants to do this because of his reputation with the red line comment. Let them whine. It has nothing to do with politics-there are lives at stake and a government that gassed their own people as Saddam Hussein did in the 1980’s. They need to be stopped.
I acknowledge that the rebel side has Al Qaeda ties and are not exactly the 1770’s US Patriots fighting the British for independence. I also acknowledge the a clear exit strategy should be laid out-although that doesn’t mean things will go according to plan.
Syria and the Middle East are always going to be fundamentally different than the west. We can never fully understand the sectarian and tribal differences-much like in Africa. It will never change. Our values and system of government do not translate there so we will have to deal with bad guys running the show. That’s the way it is and always will be-that’s a fact!
But I prefer bad guys that don’t gas their own people. Assad has to go and the United States should get involved in Syria to make that happen.