Opinion | U.S. has paused its thoughts on an intervention within Syria
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
Throughout the past few weeks, the front pages of newspapers around the world have been emblazoned with words of violence and thoughts of military intervention concerning Syria. However, the war mongering may soon be over.
This past Thursday, the U.S. declared it had delayed its thoughts of a disciplinary military strike on Syria. President Bashar al-Assad, whose government is believed to have collected one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, agreed to endorse a weapons disposal plan put forward by Russia. Assad has also agreed to apply for Syrian membership in the International Convention of Chemical Weapons, which bans the production, use or stockpiling of chemical weapons. The United Nations confirmed that it has received Syria’s application.
In Geneva, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov met with teams of arms control experts to discus a plan to secure and destroy Assad’s chemical arsenal. “Expectations are high,” Kerry said. “They’re high for the United States, perhaps even more so for Russia, to deliver on the promise of this moment.”
But what if this promise is not fulfilled? The Syrian submission of the application gives Assad 30 days to present its stockpile of chemical weapons for destruction under international supervision. However, if Assad fails to do so, will the U.S. re-open its thoughts on military intervention?
The debate for government involvement in Syria had been split into three groups: a limited, disciplinary military intervention, a larger and more complete military intervention and absolutely no intervention. The Obama administration has been pushing Congress to authorize launching a series of limited airstrikes on Syria in order to punish Assad for his use of chemical weapons, which led to the death of almost 1,500 innocent Syrians, nearly 450 of which were children. President Obama’s main argument is that the world has a moral obligation to act against those who use chemical weapons.
Some Republicans have pushed Obama to intervene more assertively in order to tip the balance of the Syrian conflict, while politicians from both parties believe that the United States should not involve itself in another Middle Eastern conflict at all. In fact, the most popular response to thoughts of military intervention in Syria is that U.S. citizens do not want another Iraq. And of course, more than a few people see military action against Syria as unacceptable simply because it is President Obama’s idea. However, both actions could leave Syria in an even worse state. Turning the tides of the war means either a victory by Assad’s government and his Iranian supporters or by an onslaught of rebel groups controlled by Sunni jihadists. Doing nothing results in more deaths of innocent civilians.
It seems that the one side of the argument that is being ignored by the White House and Congress is that of peaceful negotiations in Syria, and thanks to Russia, that may be the outcome of this predicament. Over the last two and a half years, the crisis in Syria has led to more than 100,000 deaths. Two million Syrians are now refugees, and more than 6.8 million urgently need humanitarian aid. Some Americans like to think of the U.S. as the world’s policemen, but if that is true, where was our diplomatic weapons disposal plan? Instead of seeking a peaceful solution and ushering in humanitarian aid, America proposed a military intervention that could have potentially harmed hundreds more Syrian civilians. I can only hope that this startling example of Russian diplomacy will succeed and show both American political parties that policemen do not exist to shoot the bad guys but to protect the innocent.