Syria: A Call To Arms

The moment has come and the United States has made the decision to aid Syrian rebels. Although many of us saw this move coming, it’s still a bit of a shock that we will once again be involved in another turbulent country in the Middle East.
While my own political opinions are null and void to anyone other than elected officials who pretend to care about my vested interest I do have to state that I do not buy into buying guns/supplying ammunition. Ever hear the phrase, “you cannot fight fire with fire?” Scientifically impossible.
If that phrase doesn’t do much for you maybe we should draw on the old cliche, “history repeats itself.”
Here it is folks, we’re trying to hand over weapons to people that may not know how to use them or may not have any defense strategy. More guns = more violence = more death.
What’s happening in Syria is very sad and disheartening. It’s never okay for any country to suffer civil war or feel as though it cannot rely on its government. But why can allied nations not draw on diplomacy before weaponry?

*the following is an editorial I wrote in the fall concerning the next move in Syria…

The United States should not become militarily involved in the current Syrian crisis.  If the U.S. were to counter the Arab revolutions in Syria with military action it could be considered impulsive and paranoid.  However, I do believe the U.S. should become diplomatically involved through the United Nations.  Although Syria is relatively small in comparison to its neighboring countries, its instability could lead to chaos in the Middle East which affects the world market.  Countries in the Middle East are valuable allies for oil and international relations.  Syria’s political ambiguity and religious animosity are common threads throughout the Middle East and are roots to uncontrollable organizations.  These issues are more difficult to end than to prevent.  While soldiers put civilians at risk and lead to warfare, strategic diplomacy can be the answer to preventing global unrest.

The U.S. normally takes a “responsibility to protect” but former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, said she sides with respondents who do not want the U.S. to intervene.  “The reality is that there are always other channels” said Albright.  “It would be better to get a U.N. mandate for military action.” Military action would be voted upon and heard by other nations which would aid in the U.S. actually being able to set and achieve a goal if it became involved in the Syrian crisis.

Albright also brought up her faith in the “Doability Doctrine”, guidelines created by Albright and Clinton about flexible military power with ill-defined goals.  Albright and Clinton mastered the idea of vagueness in conflict in order to justify preventative actions.  The Doctrine is still applied to military involvement today, which explains why U.S. military is so globally spread out and international policy is so complex.  This concept is costly, overbearing, and hap-hazard.

Despite the guidelines set up for military involvement by the Doctrine when one country decides to act militarily it is creates “a mis-match between mission and force structure contributes to personnel problems that, if not curtailed, will make any military intervention hazardous” as stated by Naval scholar, John Byington.

America should take note of its previous experiences in the Middle East and think of alternatives to its erratic military actions.  The country “embarked on catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq” with similar reasoning to wanting to take on Syria, said Political writer, Patrick Steale.  He believes that the U.S. should have acted on persuading Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate in order to establish peace in the Arab world.

Instead of supplying nations with weaponry, the U.S. needs to spend more time on international diplomacy.  “There can be no military solution to the Syrian crisis”, said Steale, “the only way out of the current nightmare is a cease-fire and the formation of a national government to oversee a transition” said Steale.

Conversely, Senator John McCain, Arizona-R, would argue the U.S. has a “clear national security interest in stopping the killing and forcing Assad from power.”  He said, “It [Syria] is Iran’s main ally and a “state sponsor of terrorism that has developed weapons of mass destruction.”  McCain makes the case that the U.S. has a moral obligation to end the killing of thousands of civilians, but I don’t believe that more military is a way to counter the already brutal violence.  Involving more nations and inciting more violence only contributes to war based on cultural, religious, and political differences.

I agree with Albright, Steale, Byrings, and McCain on their common themes of teamwork and preventative action.  The U.S. should act, but not alone.  It should work with supporting nations in the Arab League, European Union, and U.N. but on the basis of creating stable governments that correspond to the culture of Syria.  This means not enforcing a democracy, but rather working with other nations on what may function best in the next generation of Syrians.