Liberal column: Stay out of Syria

BY JOSH MERLO

LIBERAL COLUMNIST

Peace in the Middle East is like Tim Tebow being an NFL quarterback for the Patriots. It’s a fun idea to play around with, a great story to make a news headline, but something that is entirely unrealistic – in a word: impossible.

Case in point: Syria. But this is not some isolated incident. After all, Egypt just fought a civil war, Israel is overdo to start its own cruise-missile assault on Palestine, Iran is saber-rattling, and must America be reminded of Afghanistan and Iraq? The entire region is unstable – a veritable hotbed of insurrection, infighting, and insurgency. And Syria is begging to prove one more time that the Middle East is no closer to social harmony than it was during the Crusades, the Romans’ rule, or the Hellenistic invasion. Yet the U.S. is still determined to police this volatile region. President Obama recently petitioned Congress for approval of military intervention in Syria. The general consensus is that this intervention will be a largely symbolic cruise-missile strike. In effect the U.S. would be slapping Syria’s hands: “Please be nice and kill your own people according to international conventions, Bashar. Thank you.” Herein the problem, or problems, with this course of action should be evident. For starters there is the lack of any real condemnation. Fact: Launching drone strikes at individuals is effective. Additional fact: Launching missiles at assorted-and-sundry Syrian territories is ineffective at stopping the use of sarin, the chemical agent reportedly used by Bashar al-Assad and his cronies.

Since it is highly unlikely the Obama administration and Congress will vote to eliminate the head of the Syrian hydra by assassinating al-Assad, what action will they take? The world community knows that America will not enter into another war, declared or undeclared. Therefore Syria can resign itself to weathering a few explosions before it sets about to civil-warring once more. The end result for America and any allies that decide to take part in what will basically be military exercises with live ammunition is not any better. Syria will still be able to thumb its nose at United Nations agreements; a puny little dictatorial country will embarrass any Western state involved; and the nerve gas will remain not dealt with, which was the whole reason for any action in the first place.

Consider the situation brewing in Iran, another Syrian ally. Should the chance be taken that hostility escalates even more with the powers-that-be of Tehran? Or maybe the U.S. should consider the aforementioned Egypt: big, bad tyrannical leader, repressed protestors and human rights violations. It’s virtually the same situation as Syria, minus chemical weapons. How has democracy helped Egypt? How will it help Syria?

So, what to do? Stay out of Syria. Abide by Security Council recommendations for once. Yes, Russia is an ally of Syria, but so what? Why does the U.S. need to continually say to the rest of the world, “Hey, we’re right and you’re wrong!” after asking their advice in the first place? The United Nations has an advisory role in decisions like this. Maybe it’s time to take some advice. For once the United States should keep her hands in her pockets instead of meddling in every other country’s business. The Middle East is commonly characterized as a “powder-keg”; entering Syria is playing with fire. How does this story end?

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