Beyond the News
Today I was going to write on lighter subjects, for example about my 100 push-ups program that I will start on Monday, but it is impossible to keep my mind away from what is about to happen in the Middle-East, or better saying, what is about to happen in the American Congress, in Washington D.C. The invasion of Syria!
Public polls inside and outside of the US show that most people worldwide are against the military intervention in the country, and although this demonstrates that the global society is becoming more and more concerned about their and other people’s lives, these polls in fact do not represent too much for the Congress. The government should not take decisions only on public opinions, but on facts and documents that sustain their actions.
Back in 2001, polls were in favor of a so-called “war against the terror”, which seems to be an infinite fight where only lives have been lost and nothing gained out of it. So, the voice from the streets is not always right! While Iraq and Afghanistan are still unstable countries with lots of terrorists, the world is not any safer.
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama did a “great” move! Pushed the Syrian issue to the Congress! In this way he (1) demonstrates that the decision will be taken democratically; and (2) he exempts himself from been solely responsible for pushing the button of this war. As a result we all become anxious trying to figure out what is right and wrong in this story.
Yesterday, Syrian government sent a five page-letter to Mr. John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives. They urged to the republican Senator to read out the text in the beginning of their discussions on invading Syria. The letter was published by SkyNews and you can download its full version here.
To make it short, the letter says that US should not attack Syria because the Middle East country does not represent a danger for America. US do not have any Syrian citizen on the list of threat terrorists to attack the US soil! Also, Syria claims that they are also victims of Jihadists and other terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, and that both nations should be working together to fight the terrorism and not likewise. The letter describes several facts to sustain the above argument.
They also deny the use of chemical weapons against their people and say that who is using them are the enemies already mentioned in the previous paragraph. Finally, Syria is inviting US to form a committee of representatives to visit the country and see “what is going on here” with their own eyes.
Well, now is the time for Mr. Obama to truly demonstrate whether he is a man of peace, of debate, of diplomacy or if he is just like some of his antecessors who used to clean up the mucus from their leaps while planning vengeances against unknown targets. If US ignore this letter and go for a military intervention, Obama’s second term will be marked by an arrogant behavior. On the other hand, a simple visit to Syria might make the US to find out that there is much more truth in this letter than they expected and all the arguments to invade the country will fall apart.
This does not mean that Mr. Bashar al-Assad is an angel and should be awarded with a Nobel Prize. There are no doubts about his responsibility in this story and that he can be considered a dictator, but on the other hand it is true that Syria is not a US direct enemy and should be treated as such. Furthermore, this letter demonstrates that Syria wants to take this issue to a diplomatic level and there is no reason for a “democratic and developed” nation like US to behave otherwise.
To defend the invasion of Syria, Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Director of Policy Planning in the US Senate Department (2009-2011), says that US “are the world’s most powerful nation. Other nations take their cues from our action or inaction, whether we want them to or not”. She thinks that if Mr. Obama does not invade Syria, then leaders will feel like that they “can do whatever they like within their own borders”. This is a typical arrogance that leads people like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to bomb the US.
In other words, what Mrs. Slaughter says is that leaders cannot do whatever they want in their countries, but US can do anything in the world. The White House can send into jail and free up anyone at any time. Can attack a nation whenever and whatever the way they wish just because they are the “most powerful nation”.
On a different track, Gloria Borger, a chief-political analyst at CNN, says that Mr. Obama is acting like Alice in Wonderland because just like in the fairy tale, the US president has changed in such a way that now he is afraid to go back to the past. As Mrs. Borger reminds, Alice once said: “I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”, which is Mr. Obama’s current dilemma. This actually seems to be a much more realistic description of this case. According to Mrs. Borger, Mr. Obama until sometime ago was proudly saying that he is rescuing US from two wars, a quote that gave him substantial growth in popularity to win the last election! But now, he suddenly gives to the Congress the right to take a decision which he before used to say that was of his own.
In other words, as more Mr. Obama talks about getting into this conflict, as more discredit his administration gets into. But this is not the main reason to not invade Syria. In fact, the main reason to not invade Syria is that there are no main reasons to do so. Up to now no one has ever confirmed the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government and it is clear that both sides, rebels and local army, are exaggerating in their actions. Will the US military force make any difference in this story? Hence, if the contents on this letter received by the US Congress is really true (or partially), then there is a major opportunity for US to take a diplomatic action here, to negotiate and bring the discussion onto de table with other major nations and solve the problem without more bloodshed.
Instead of sending war tanks to Syria, Mr. Obama should take this opportunity and prepare a committee to visit the country in order to analyze the situation closer. Or perhaps he could even go on his own there, step inside the war with a peaceful message instead of promoting further deaths. Mrs. Slaughter is right to say that US need to act, but there is no need to act by using machine guns. The US and Mr. Obama miss here the opportunity to make peace while the world is losing the chance to become safer!