WASHINGTON, D.C. (9/5/13) – What to do about Syria? The Syria question of what to do has very deep ramifications.
Not only does it have life or death consequences for the people of Syria and the region; it is a crossroads for the United States as a world superpower and protector of the oppressed. The United States is war weary after decades of war with little to show for the effort except massive debt and thousands of dead and wounded.
So what do we gain to get more heavily involved in Syria? The only possible gain is to thwart the ambitions of Russia and Iran. Some argue that the United States stands to lose much more than it could gain. Absolutely no one with any military knowledge will argue that firing 200 missiles will turn the tide of conflict. Facilities and equipment taken out by such a strike could be replaced within weeks and President Assad could win the propaganda war if civilian casualties result from the US attack. Just balancing the sides will add years to the conflict and kill tens of thousands more.
If the US attacks, Assad would surely respond. He would hopefully lack the ability to strike the US; but, he and his allies could strike Israel or other US allies. US citizens could become targets as could assets of US corporations. Assad could unleash another round of chemical attacks killing hundreds or thousands more Syrians.
Iran has nothing to lose by pouring military assets into Syria. The more the US focuses on Syria, the less we can focus on Iran as it builds nuclear weapons. Russia has to be more circumspect. Putin has dreams of rebuilding the old Soviet Union. For Putin, Syria is the next opportunity to distract and deflect US foreign policy and further drain the US treasury.
The prospects for a successful outcome of US involvement are bleak. There are few that advocate for President Obama’s foreign policy success. The President is viewed as ambivalent, incompetent or lazy when it comes to development, execution or follow-through of a comprehensive foreign policy for the United States. The Arab Spring, The Muslim Brotherhood, Civil war in Egypt, Benghazi, Failed government in Iraq, Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan and strengthening Al-Qaeda all give a sense of uneasiness and lack of trust in the President or his staff.
If the United States does not act after the “red line in the sand” was crossed, then the United States risks forfeiture of its “superpower” status. It will be seen as carrying a big stick but afraid or unwilling to use it. Great Britain has walked away and you can see the world’s reaction. The US can expect even greater disdain and the dictators and despots of the world will be in celebration not seen since 9/11/2001.
President Obama should request the United Nations Security Council to convene and the President should demand that the United Nations take action against Assad. If the United Nations cannot act, the United States should withdraw from the organization and demand the UN out of the United States. If the United Nations cannot agree to condemn chemical or biological attacks against civilians, it is of absolutely no use whatsoever.
Assad and his administration and generals should then be charged with war crimes. The United States should impose an absolute ban on trade with countries supporting Assad.
So, the United States is in a no-win situation until we have leadership with the fortitude, skill and resolve to formulate and execute a winning foreign policy of which Syria is only a small part of the big picture.
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