Syria: the Use of Chemical Weapons
As reported by Secretary of State John Kerry, on 21 August 2013, Syria “gassed to death” 1,429 of its citizens including 426 children. It has therefore made it imperative for the entire world to stand up and oppose the death of innocent people.
President Obama is absolutely right: “We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale.”
However, I now suspect a motivation on the part of Syria to provoke the West in general and the United States in particular into entering endless hostilities, as though the Crusades had not ended. This, I believe, was provocation: see agent provocateur. Under such circumstances, the US needs to consider “playing dead.” Something has to be done, but it would be my opinion that the United States’ best option is to be part of an international mission and to address, with partners, the use of chemical weapons.[i] They kill quickly and may harm an already ailing planet.
Please remember the brutal attacks of 9/11. There had to be a response on the part of the United States. However, these attacks were perpetrated by a global terrorist organisation: Al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden. These attacks were not perpetrated by a nation. Therefore, President Bush’s best recourse was to track down Osama bin Laden, thereby
- sparing the United States and the world two wars
- while avoiding the near collapse of an economy that has gone global. He chose war and he spent trillions.
The Current Conflict
In the eyes of some US citizens, barging in to avenge the misdeeds of the Middle East might seem the “American” thing to do. Such a belief is rooted, at least in part, in the antiquated Manifest Destiny. But the truth is that the US does not have to solve the problems of the World. Moreover, I doubt that it can enter a sovereign nation. The Syrians killed 1,429 of their own people and it may well be that they were trying to provoke the West, especially the United States. However, although I suspect provocation, there was no attack on the United States. The temptation to enter Syria and punish the barbarians who killed 1,429 of their own citizens, using chemical weapons to boot, must be enormous. Yet no nation can elbow its way into another nation to teach it a lesson? The Syrians acted criminally and should face the International Court of Justice.
Moreover, may I suggest that one does not help those who will not help themselves. It is the duty of the embattled countries of the Middle East to put an end to their own misery. These factious nations are perfectly capable of finding their way to the negotiating table, if there is anyone left. For instance, the United States has long tried to broker a deal that would be acceptable to both the Israeli and the Palestinians. However, whatever deal has been proposed has also been opposed. So why try to resolve conflicts the belligerents themselves want to perpetuate? In the case of Syria, why should any nation punish the malfaesants who killed their own people? They may have wanted to infuriate the West, but in doing so they committed a horrible crime. They must face the consequences of this crime, but need it be war? There’s a tribunal.
Too intense a degree of engagement on the part of the United States in the conflicts of the Middle East would harm Americans and I doubt it would help the Middle East. I am not saying that the US should contemplate isolationism, but it would be my opinion and conviction that it should 1) continue to pull out of the Middle East, where it remains the “ugly American,” 2) let congenital belligerents face an indignant world and, 3) when a nation has acted criminally, make sure the concerned individuals are brought to trial.
I very much fear another war, the evil that followed 9/11. I’m so glad the White House is still Barack’s house.
Sources:[i] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/obamas-bid-to-congress-on-syria-part-of-push-for-global-backing-un/article14065095/ [ii] http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/World/ID/2403722367/
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