The Question of Syrian Intervention
America has been plagued with many domestic problems recently, from economic issues, such as recovering from the recession, to major disagreements between political parties. Nevertheless, one foreign issue lingers: civil war in Syria. The topic has stirred a great deal of debate, not only in America but also throughout the world, with essentially two sides to the debate. One, America, along with the rest of UN, should militarily intervene and end all the atrocities being committed there by removing Assad from power. Two, Syria’s sovereignty should be respected, and it should be able to end its own chaos without help from the rest of the world. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but the latter option seems to be the safest with the cons actually outweighing the pros. However, the approach to assist this attempted revolution is not so black and white. The winner of November’s presidential election needs to know that, and he also should have an idea of how to deal with the conflict in general. Although Syrian authorities are committing mass atrocities to their own civilians, America should not militarily intervene in the nation because of minimal support and lack of an exit strategy. Instead, it should intervene in an alternate way by improving the lives of refugees.
An essential part of a military intervention is unanimous or worldwide support, which is not present right now with Syria. According to Jon Western and Joshua Goldstein, professors of political science, “legitimate humanitarian interventions must be supported by a broad coalition of international, regional, and local actors. Multilateral interventions convey consensus about the appropriateness of the operations, distribute costs, and establish stronger commitments for the post-intervention transitions” (58). With every country agreeing to the Syrian operation, there would be more legitimacy and confidence in the mission. Tension between countries intervening will only make matters more complicated. There also needs to be synchronized leadership, which the UN can provide to show it is a worldwide effort. However, the UN Security itself is divided as Russia and China oppose intervention. A professor of IR and Middle Eastern Studies at the LSE elaborates on how Russia and China actually do not want the regime in Syria to change because of the close relations between the two and Syria (Gerges 1). Russia has been selling arms to Syria for years while China has heavily invested in the country. Both countries are also known to suppress protests and violate freedom of speech. Therefore, both countries value their investments and values more than the humanitarian crisis and are unwilling to overthrow the regime. America along with the rest of the UN cannot just militarily intervene in Syria when two major heavyweights oppose the mission. This has the potential to cause future conflicts and tensions not only in the case of Syria, but also between the United States and Russia or China.
Another reason America should not militarily attack Syria is that there is no well-defined exit strategy after the mission is over. Syria cannot be another Iraq or Afghanistan where the American military is still present today after years since the first day of conflict. In order to restore order in Syria, obviously Bashar al Assad needs to be removed from power, but there is more to that. There are people who suggest that this mission can be carried as smoothly as the operation in Libya, which has been successful so far in keeping the country relatively stable. However, an Australian politician suggests, “military intervention carries risks. Unlike Libya, Syria has a large and well-equipped army. It has a modern air force, which makes the establishment of a no-fly zone more challenging than was the case in Libya. There is the increasing risk that the country could slide into civil war” (Buti 1). In order to take down Assad, the...
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