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The Door Is Open to a Syrian Solution; Shut It, Stand By, or Step Through.
What Should Never, Ever Happen
Win-Win, For Now, at Least
There’s absolutely no shortage of blogs on this subject; it’s a hottie. Must’ve been something like this before WWII, where the world suspected nasty stuff going on in Europe but was reluctant to get involved…until it simply became necessary.
This is an amazing time in mid-eastern politics; it’s very “active” which translates to “problematic” with the potential for disaster. The Palestinians and Israel continue to haggle over encampments and barricades. Iran is finding its footing with a new leader who initially appears less confrontational and, perhaps, more moderate. Suicide bombers continue their cowardly assignments throughout the region. Egypt struggles to maintain a democratic government under martial law. And now, say hello to our little friend, Syria.
The U.S. government likely has never appeared so confused and adrift to the rest of the world. President Obamas’ early announcement of military strategy and the subsequent hesitancy to follow through has allowed Syria’s government the time to mentally prepare and to begin mobilizing their weapons to avoid easy targeting by the U.S. But the delay has also given everybody more time to find an out that will not involve American aggression (even if it’s warranted) and will save some face for all. It’s the Cuban missile crisis dragged through molasses.
Now, negotiations between Russia and Syria concerning the poison chemical weapons handover are buying time. The use of chemical weapons is “on hold”, a definite win for the Syrian population, particularly those occupying areas not controlled by the Syrian government. By extension, the region benefits, as will the world, ultimately. How things develop over the next few months will determine just how meaningful and long-lasting this “win” will be.
The world cannot remain on the sidelines. If you see an adult savagely beating a little kid, or even an animal, you step up to stop it (unless you’re a cold, spineless jerk). You interact not to punish the adult or question their authority but rather to immediately protect the child from further physical abuse. An intervention is required or the kid will suffer terribly. That’s this situation on steroids, and further delay equals more destruction. This can only be a win for everyone if the use of chemical weapons is deterred and they are completely destroyed, and confirmed so.
Think Korea & Vietnam But Remember Hitler and Consider All Consequences
Those who are against any U.S. involvement can refer to recent episodes in history to support their argument. ..sort of. Recalling Korea and Vietnam 50-plus years ago brings to mind situations where the U.S. became involved militarily in “regional” politics, ostensibly to ward off the Communist threat. But these conflicts cost America dearly, did not achieve their stated objectives, and didn’t exactly end up in our “win” column.
Recently, a CBS Television News poll reported that 61% of the American people would not support any attack on Syria. Some folks wonder why other western nations, or even the Arab League, don’t commit military assets and handle this incident themselves. Why does the U.S. always seem to be the first in and the last out? Why does the world depend on America to lead the way, or even go it alone?
The United States has kind of fostered this mentality, taking and securing over time our place at the top and assisting/acting at times around the globe like the world police. Sometimes, it’s been necessary because our military was the best and, perhaps the only, practical choice for the job; the U.S. military is that good. A world leader must interact positively with peers, requiring serious responsibility at times. In a few instances it’s turned out to be too much too handle, but our troops have still done their best in the hopes of maximizing any good they’ve already achieved.
Please recall Adolph Hitler, an initially charismatic European leader in the 1930’s who charmed the general population of the West, manipulating his way to becoming the leader of a strong and unified Germany. Then he dragged the world into his sordid, personal nightmare, his sick vision of Europe. And it was hell-on-Earth for millions subjected to his personal terrorism until the world caught on to his massacre of innocents. Emboldened by the lack of resistance, Hitler would have continued well beyond all established political boundaries. To let him do so unchallenged would have only broadened the terror.
So, does the U.S. proceed with head-held-high, proudly acting in the name of humanity to save children from more horrible chemical attacks? Can we just look the other way as ethnic cleansing intensifies in Syria by the use of poison gas?
I honestly don’t think any American with a heart and soul can watch it happen again and remain aloof. Anyone who has already seen videos of this gas attack would have to be a monster to discount the horror. But everyone should be fully aware of the wide range of possibilities and repercussions and, although some can’t really be planned for, we should at least be aware of the possibilities.
U.S. Tracking Chemical Weapons
Assad Vague But Message Clear
- Assad: 'Expect everything' in response to attack - Yahoo News
From Yahoo News: WASHINGTON (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad is warning the U.S. of repercussions if it launches a military strike against him. "You should expect everything," Assad said in an interview, while denying that his troops used chemica
The Possibilities Are Endless
Bashar al-Assad says it all, even if he is being a smart-ass. If the U.S. attacks, “expect everything” in terms of the response. Political and cultural tension will increase no matter what; it’s the road chosen decades ago between America and the mid-east. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, the reasons for the governments’ mutual disrespect and suspicion of each other have faded into the background, leaving an obvious and, in some cases, incredibly intense hatred and refusal to understand, not to mention compromise, with the other. It’s not the best choice as a way of life but, until positive moves are made and societies are no longer lied to, it’s what we’ve got to work with.
- Chemical weapons are hidden and their production and use continue unabated
- Syrian rebels and Assad’s regime wipe each other out after prolonged violence, opening the door to several tribal/religious leaders who wish to take charge; area remains destabilized
- Syrian rebels grow stronger and eventually overcome Assad’s regime after years of fighting
- Whomever ends up in the driver’s seat, more innocent children are among those randomly targeted and poisoned, just to make a point
- Tensions increase causing devolution of internal politics throughout the region; fighting ensues between religious factions throughout the middle east, translating into conflicts between political entities and entire countries
- Whoever has stores of poison gas will barter with other entities for support or cash and chemical weapons (or the technology) will spread covertly throughout the region
- Instability spreads to north Africa and Europe and, eventually, finds its way into Asia and begins crossing oceans to infect everywhere
- Anti-American allies decide that U.S. inaction has left America vulnerable; pedestrian and automobile suicide bombings intensify globally; gas attacks aren’t far behind
- Attacks increase significantly on American soil, abroad and at home; America must respond decisively or rectify itself to living in constant fear
- U.S. “late” entry into conflict has left it with a less powerful stance and little support from allies who are already overwhelmed with terrorist activity; America’s security for its general public is impacted and, literally, no large crowd or event is off-limits to terrorists
- Hundreds of thousands die; America bucks up and adjusts.
With An Intervention
- America thought by some to be the “aggressor” but understood by many to be responding out of necessity
- U.S. limited attack sends a signal, ignored by some but considered by many, as a warning against future use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere
- Some (not nearly enough) terrorist cells/foreign governments get the message and are sane enough to refrain from undertaking any action against America
- Retaliation on America includes everything from random individual suicide bombings to terrorist cells orchestrating attacks on American and allied interests; former U.S. allies become more wary of the U.S.
- Retaliation may also involve further use of any chemical weapons not initially collected and destroyed in Syria, being “exported” for global use via terrorist factions
- America must immediately step up efforts to control the situation, including increased military involvement in Syria and intensified security for U.S. population and holdings
- Assad’s government defeated; chemical weapons are finally collected and handed over to designated entity for destruction, use avoided for now; some stores may remain hidden
- Regional fighting has noticeably intensified the instability in the region between sects, tribes, religious factions, governments, and anyone else still breathing
- Area leaders are not strong enough to control the fighting and U.S. support of many would be unpopular and, in some cases, crazy and dangerous
- The U.S. has stood up against chemical weapons but has lost some standing globally; any goodwill earned in the mid-east over the past decade is harmed; Americans sense a threat abroad and at home and acclimate to looking over their shoulders
- Life goes on with a bit more stress; the hammer still hangs heavily over our heads
- Many, many lives lost; high-level management of defense-related contractors will be whistling all the way to the bank.
So, What Now?
I’m sure Assad understands that any intense attack on America could leave him the undisputed ruler of a devastated and desolate bunch of hot Syrian sand dunes. He’s already blown up parts of his own major cities; the U.S. could finish that job for him unless he dials down the hubris. He could bring an end to his own family regime, ensuring with certainty they have no place of power in the future middle east.
Hey, Bashar. Stop for a moment, close your eyes, and think of a power so impressive that it can level energy plants and weapons factories, empty reservoirs, demolish transportation facilities and major roads, destroy the economy and, essentially, render your very own beloved Syria absolutely uninhabitable with the exception of nomadic tribes for generations. Got that? Plan accordingly.
For the rest of us, the mission is clear, though difficult. Historically, the U.S. government has not, IMO, earned the unwavering trust of the American people. Cases in point…existence of WMD’s, non-existent Area 51, Kent State massacre of four unarmed students, the Vietnam War (even former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara fessed up to that), the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention and local police response to demonstrators, to name a few.
So may I respectfully suggest that the American public remain vigilant regarding developments to help ensure things occur as transparently as possible and employ common sense over emotion. President Obama is tasked with choosing the best available options to extinguish this threat of chemical weapons and protect the U.S. in the long run.
What should Congress do? Just shut up. Really…who cares? They have proven themselves to be the most contentious, immature, lackluster, impotent bunch of politicians ever in the Senate and, especially, the House…definitely, the House. Their record is abysmal and they may seriously have created more problems than they have solved. They should stay out of this. The media would welcome watching this debate explode into yet another full-scale war with the Obama administration. Suffice to say that our 113th Congress has been a waste of time and space. I’d rather not hear any more about them this year.
Take a look at the map below. Referring to the Middle East a "powderkeg" is an understatement. It's more like several hundred powderkegs, each of which could activate entirely independent of the others but, ultimately, could grow to envelope them. Whatever the U.S. does is a big deal, and we all should care about it.
A Sure-Fire Powderkeg Region
Ball of Confusion: Home, Sweet Home
The Voyager I spacecraft made history this week as the only artifact from this planet reported to have exited our solar system. All alone, way out there. Weird. But it will be a very long while before the rest of us can follow. So, this planet is the only home we've got and it is what we make of it. Right now, we're making a mess. So think about what kind of world you want for your kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews, and what you'd like to be remembered for.
Whatever the U.S. does or doesn’t do, violent and senseless aggression against America will continue to thrive in some places. It’s just what those folks do for kicks. It would be great if the U.S. could somehow productively improve the perspectives of those who so determinedly hate us, but that has historically proven extremely difficult and often impossible.
There are fanatics everywhere, unfortunately, so there will always be problems. I believe that fanaticism always hurts more than helps; it’s a complete waste of effort and emotion, and listening to any fanatic is like experiencing a large dog’s fart; it’s just noisy, disgusting hot air. At least the fart dissipates after a few minutes. Personally, I would easily prefer a fart to a fanatic.
Our responsibility is to prod our government into making intelligent, compassionate, security-minded decisions, and then monitor its appropriate follow-through. There must be some kind of action, and that action must not be weak, whatever it involves. While it’s important to keep the peace, it’s even more important to keep our national identity strong and Americans as safe as possible, everywhere. We must stand tall and firm but leave room for compromise; that is the key to communicating and surviving.