Opinion | World leaders need to drop tired rhetoric on Syrian crisis
Published: Sunday, July 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, July 2, 2012 16:07
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama met with other world leaders at the G20 Summit in Mexico. Although the pair appeared, according to most of the mainstream media, to be somewhat icy and distant, they managed to discuss crucial global issues. Their comments on the conflict in Syria drew the most attention.
The leaders of the two rival nations apparently, “agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence” and stated, “that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war," according CNN.com.
I’d like to say, thank you immensely Putin and Obama, for so ostentatiously overstating the obvious with your first point, and for so eloquently utilizing vague politician jargon on your second. How could you not agree that the violence needs to end, when women and children are being slaughtered in front of their family members? And what exactly is this “political process” that you’ve created?
I understand the United States is not responsible for solving all of the world’s problems, and that politicians are hesitant to comment on what they call the “Syria Issue” because it’s an election year and they don’t want to jeopardize their careers.
However, the turmoil in Syria is not just an “issue.”
The United Nations backed a “ceasefire” and an “anti-violence” revolution in April, yet two months later, the conflict is just as heated. Innocent blood is shed, homes and families destroyed daily inside that cryptic country and the stability of that entire region is jeopardized.
The conflict is quite complicated and a resolution seems elusive and implausible. Rebel groups are poorly organized, and also violent, though reportedly not nearly as cruel toward civilians as the Syrian military. The U.S. hasn’t exactly maintained great relations with Syria in recent history. These, and a plethora of other reasons make the “issue” a difficult one for politicians to tackle.
Neither Mitt Romney nor Obama have offered organized or specific plans to deal with the warfare in Syria, but rather both stating, to be very politically correct, that the end of the violence must come soon. They, along with the mainstream news outlets, have manipulated the Syrian violence into a discussion of Democrats vs. Republicans, and Russia vs. United States. These empty, politicized statements are entirely outrageous.
The discussion of the situation in Syria should focus on political affiliations, foreign policy rivals or even the rebels and the Syrian government. The men, women and children who continue to be caught in the crosshairs, losing their homes, livelihoods and even their lives should be the central topic of this discussion. So if Mr. Obama or Mr. Putin would like to discuss a “political process” that could end the Syrian violence, they need to begin with the Syrian people who are just trying to go about their lives with their families.
This “political process” needs to begin swiftly, as a joint effort of world powers to end the excessive brutality in this Middle Eastern nation. The U.S. and whichever candidate is elected in November must diligently oversee this process for numerous reasons.
The protection of human rights and liberties, which the U.S. has historically defended, should obviously make up the core of these efforts. Also, intervention in the conflict to defend the Syrian people will be viewed by the Middle Eastern nations as a much more positive reaction by the world’s superpower than no reaction at all. Apathy for the loss of human life is unacceptable, regardless of political ties.
While I’m aware that the demands for intervention in Syria are steep, calling for major expenditures and international agreements, I am convinced that intervention is the only route to resolution.
I may be an idealist, but I believe that as the world’s leading nation, it is our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. The Syrian public is incapable of defending themselves against the government, and the rebels have not thus far created an organized, successful revolution effort.
As citizens of the U.S., a nation whose policies impact much of the world, we should not only be informed on the happenings of the rest of the world, but formulate and convey opinions to our government regarding these events.
I’m furious with the way our politicians are handling, or rather, not handling the “not quite yet civil war” in Syria, and for the first time in my life, I will be writing to all of the politicians I can contact to express my sentiments.
I urge you to pay attention to the news and do the same. If and when you do, remember the people who fought for our right to have a voice, and for the people, like those in Syria, who have yet to gain such a freedom.