Truth be told, I don’t like using my ‘daily writing’ up on politics due to the fact that such little snippets are pretty much guaranteed to alienate a part of my readership. Politics have become insanely divisive and spiteful, with anger and hatred often winning out over calm, reasoned discussion over the political issues of our time. In short, it’s a pretty unpleasant exercise pretty much guaranteed to win me no friends.
But every now and then there comes a major issue so important that it’s really time to talk about it, at least just a little bit. Many of my online friends have asked about the current situation in Syria and if we have the right or responsibility to take military action against Assad’s regime. Unfortunately this has become a very partisan question due to our President’s mishandling of other recent events (such as Benghazi) as well as some very questionable statements by some leading Senators who are wanting to rattle the sabers for no more reason than to ‘restore Obama’s prestige’.
Syria is currently led by the Assad regime, which has historically been brutal, vicious, and a major supporter of international terrorism. The regime has been aided somewhat by an alliance with Russia who sees Syria as a ‘counter-balance’ to American interests in the region. Opposing this regime is a hodge-podge of various groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which wishes to establish their own brand of militant Islam into the nation’s government. The Muslim Brotherhood is the ‘political wing’ of Al Qaeda, the group that attacked New York City and Washington DC on September 11th, 2001. This means that the enemy of Assad is also an enemy we’ve been actively fighting for over ten years.
President Obama has pursued peaceful, if not outright sympathetic, relations with the Islamic Brotherhood in the nations of Iran, Libya, and Egypt, and has even had American troops engage as support for the Brotherhood in other African nations. In fact, in all five current military engagements that American troops have become embroiled, the Islamic Brotherhood figures prominently. In two of them, they are the overt enemy. Yet, in Syria, the goal seems to be to aid this same movement.
The sad truth is that there are no good guys to support in Syria. There is no ‘secular establishment’ with which to build a new Syria after a conflict. There is no ‘moderate political group’ with which the United States can hope to find an accord. All the political groups are enemies of the West, and in some cases, quite literally so. Though our hearts may yearn to aid the victims of these groups, the Syrian civilian population, there are no pragmatic solutions to do so which would not require the United States to conquer the nation – which would not go down well with either Russia or China.
The calculus here is that there are no good options, but that Washington (between Obama’s saber-rattling and threats about ‘red lines’ as well as eager hawkish congressmen) has painted our nation into a bad corner. With only France backing intervention, and most of the world vehemently opposed to it, Obama may have little choice to back down. While this will no doubt harm the prestige and projection of power of the United States for quite some time, Washington’s reckless policies in regards to the Middle East should have never taken us here in the first place.