September 1, 2013 1 Comment
From this side of the pond there is a consensus that President Obama is seeking a way out: if Congress backs action against Syria, it isn’t his fault; if it doesn’t, it isn’t his fault. This may, or may not, be clever politics, but is it the act of an international statesman? Like it or not, and I know many Americans think you have paid a huge price for it, America is still regarded as the leading Power in the world, and even the anti-Americanism one sees in places pays its own unwilling tribute to that fact.
It seems plain that the British and the Americans wanted to go after Assad on Saturday; that’s the only sense to be attached to the fact that the Commons was recalled early. I hope that the British rejection of action on the grounds stated, has helped delay what might be a serious mistake.
It is wrong and unfair to label those who doubt that military action of the sort speculated about would be useful as ‘appeasers’ or somehow pro-Assad. To have doubts about the ‘other side’ in the Syrian civil war is not to support Assad, it is to acknowledge that evil though his actions have been, those who seek to replace him are not a bunch of George Washington wannabes.
In Iraq, and in Egypt, the advent of non-dictatorships has led to serious hardship for the native Christians; there have been Christians in Iraq since at least the fourth century; now few are left; the Copts have been under attack from the Muslims in Egypt, and in Syria, the ‘rebels’ have no love for the native Christians there. In whose interest is it that this region passes under the sway of Muslim extremists? Certainly not that of the West. Much though one hates to say it, Vladimir Putin is right here, as, indeed, I think he is on the question of homosexuality. What have we come to when a Russian President is a better guide to some things than the American one?
From this side of the pond, it is impossible to know how Congress will react, but if the polls are believed, most Americans feel the way we do here. We are outraged at the chemical attack, but cannot see how a strike, signalled this far in advance, will do anything other than make Assad stronger in the eyes of his own people; surely an undesirable result?
The President and the Secretary of State are strong on rhetoric, but do fine words constitute a solution or a smokescreen? Indignation is fine for me and you, and for the journalists, but is it enough for a President, and is it enough to risk further lives; because make no mistake, more lives will be lost in any strike, and no one will be in any doubt as to where the blame for the deaths lies.
After 9/11 there was a massive groundswell of support for the US, and few objected to the attack of Afghanistan. But what did Iraq have to do with that? Nothing. The US squandered that goodwill, and exchanged it for a massive bill in terms of money, men and reputation. When in a hole, it is considered a good idea to stop digging. To go dig another hole seems the height of folly.
The President could put the ball in Putin’s court, he could say: ‘OK, we’ve listened, and we would prefer the diplomatic route – you go put pressure on Assad’. That would be better than the current politicking; indeed, almost anything, save war, would be.
- Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Warns Syria Could Become Another Iraq on Religious Freedom (blackchristiannews.com)
- France says it cannot act alone on Syria as U.S. hesitates (dailystar.com.lb)
- Intel Sources: Obama Is Stalling On Syria Strike To Make Deals With Putin (rinf.com)