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My Two-Cents on Syria

Bullish
Posts: 3,527
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9/7/2013 5:34:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As we all know, there have been some supposedly convincing evidence gathered by the UN and US intelligence that Sryan President/Dictator Bashar Al-Assad has allegedly used chemical weapons containing sarin to strategically kill civilians in order to deter violent resistance to his government. The Al-Assad family has held on to power since 1971; the Assads are secular and authoritarian. They have brought relative political and economic stability; however, they have also brought humanitarian had human right's concerns. The civil war officially broke out in 2011, coinciding with the "Arab Spring". The opposition is made up of a mix of radical, Muslim, and freedom-fighter groups.

I, as usual, have avoided spewing knee-jerk reactions and decided to take a look into this issue, since it seems to be on TV a lot. I think a situation like this is best described by a step-by-step analysis.

Revolution
Revolutions have a way of running it's own course. Any internal revolution should, in theory, be self contained. External factors are almost NEVER motivated by what is "right". In the American Revolution, the French only helped America to make the British weaker. The Iroquois League only helped America because they were bullied to. The civil war in Vietnam was nothing but proxies wars fought by Western and Eastern factions. Selling weapons to a civil war in another country only makes the war more brutal, and can only be seen as war profiteering, extending influence, induce instability, or some other act of self-interest.

In conclusion, Some other country's revolution is some other country's business. Although it is rarely the case, other countries shouldn't participate.

The Syrian civil war is supposed to be self contained. Let them be.

Initial Policy
This is the real world. Every country (perhaps justifiably) has self-interests. The above analysis simply cannot be practical done. For one, Russia is already actively and publicly selling Assad arms.

The U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been very inconsistent. Because at home, politics are divided and there are multiple fronts. The American people want the government to stop fighting these wars. The U.S. government wants to keep a sphere of influence over that area of the world. U.S. trade interests want the Middle East to be politically and economically stable to facilitate better trade. U.S. private military contractors want the Middle East to be in conflict since arms dealing is lucrative business. Since this is a democratic country, everybody has a say. This has led to contradictory actions like at first supporting Saddam Hussein, invading Afghanistan because of terrorism, at first sanctioning Mubarak because he was friendly, and overthrowing Qaddafi despite his efforts in preventing mass anarchism. U.S. policy to Syria has mostly been non-existent.

According to the latest reports out of Syria, the current regime in Syria is on the verge of wiping out the opposition, keeping power, and likely be more brutal afterwards because it fears more opposition.

From the popular view, the U.S. should keep it's distance.

Chemical Weapons Were Used
(I am assuming here that Chemical Weapons were indeed used. However it is possible that that is not the case, like the alleged nuclear weapons in Iraq. I do want to actually see the evidence first. )

It MIGHT have happened that way. Until it was discovered that chemical weapons were used, and the media made a big hype about it. Don't get me wrong, I believe that there are weapons in this world that should be used as little as possible, such as nukes, bio, and chem weapons.

Under international law, chemical weapons are banned. Any country who uses them should be swiftly, unwaveringly, and unilaterally punished.

According to international law, this world, not just the U.S., should sanction the UN to reasonably punish Assad.

UN Sucks
However, "international law" has a very disappointing history of being down-right ignored. The 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact bans war, but obviously that didn't work out as intended. League of Nations failed miserably. During the Cold War, nobody gave a crap about what was being used. UN is slightly better that the LoN, as demonstrated by some intervention in African revolutions and humanitarian aide, but not by much.

Once again, the UN has shown it's weakness. A bunch of countries in this world, and this time it's not just China and Russia, adamantly decided to not intervene in Syria and look the other way.

Obviously, it is unacceptable to just watch thousands, hundreds of thousands of non-combatant civilian people to just ge brutally murdered by it's government. We should help each other. Right?

From a humanitarian point of view, the U.S. should act as a vigilante and intervene in Syria.

The U.S. Sucks
But, as described in the first part, the U.S. can't even get it's own interests straight. The U.S. government (not picking on the U.S. here. Every government has a tendency to not follow through on politically motivated promises.) has done only one thing consistently -- stir anti-American sentiment from the rest of the world by militarily intervening in other people's business and then either failing miserably (no nukes in Iraq), waste money (10 years and counting in Afghanistan), cause unintended consequences (instability in Libya and Egypt), or be revealed to be acting in self-interest (Iran Contra). It's sad, really.

From a consequentialist point of view, the U.S. should sit tight; it is the most secure way of doing things.

What Should We Do?
In my humble opinion, summarizing from the above, the U.S. should continue lobbying UN on the grounds of international law. If the U.S. has to contribute a certain amount of money, as long as it isn't exorbitantly impractical, it should be done. Right now, it looks like limited air strikes are possible. If UN sanctions it, then do it. If they don't, then don't. Also, if they don't, the U.S. should punish the UN (legally, of course, like taking money away). I think this view will do the most amount of practical good for this world.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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9/8/2013 3:13:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think the evidence is very strong that chemical weapons were used in Syria. What there is little to no evidence for however is actually ascertaining exactly WHO used the chemical weapons. It could have been Assad, it could have been rebel groups, it could have been Iran, it could have been Israel, it could have been any other Middle Eastern player, it could have been the FSB, the SIS, the CIA, etc...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Bullish
Posts: 3,527
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9/8/2013 4:34:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/8/2013 3:13:56 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
I think the evidence is very strong that chemical weapons were used in Syria. What there is little to no evidence for however is actually ascertaining exactly WHO used the chemical weapons. It could have been Assad, it could have been rebel groups, it could have been Iran, it could have been Israel, it could have been any other Middle Eastern player, it could have been the FSB, the SIS, the CIA, etc...

Yes, thank you. That is what I meant.
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