Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Foreign Affairs


As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues his bloody crackdown on the Syrian people, the rest of the world continues to grapple with how to address such wanton abuses. A European-backed measure in the United Nations Security Council calling for international sanctions on Assad's regime was vetoed on Tuesday by China and Russia, the two nations claiming that calling for an end to the abuses so harshly was not conducive to negotiations. Turkey has independently decided to take a more proactive role and has put sanctions on the regime, while Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, still lamenting the ouster of his "brother" Gaddafi in Libya, has pledged to stand in solidarity with al-Assad against "Yankee" aggression. American Ambassador Robert Ford, who has been the target of several attacks by pro-government mobs over the past month, was unanimously confirmed to his position by the U.S. Senate this week in a sign of solidarity against the Syrian regime (Ford had been a one-year recess appointment, as Republicans had originally filibustered President Obama's appointment of him last year).

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has become the highest-ranking American official to call for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria, which may start us down the troubling path to another military intervention. Syria, though, is far more problematic that Libya. Its military is not only much more organized and powerful, but it is a very close ally of Iran's and maintains favor with Russia and China. Additionally, Assad said that if NATO does absolutely anything against his regime, he will launch missiles at Tel Aviv--and he has the capability to do this. Syria represents a complicated geopolitical situation for the world, and many different global and regional powers are influencing what happens there from different directions. Any sort of military intervention by the United States would open a Pandora's box and best be avoided.
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Discussions - 6 Comments

The U.S. should stay far away from military intervention and merely provide moral suasion to promote self-government. We should not, as JQA said, go in search of monsters abroad as did the French Revolutionaries and Wilsonians. Intervention can lead to all sorts of unintended consequences such as a terrorist response, anti-Americanism, power of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic fundamentalists, etc. The Syrians need to work out liberty and self-government for themselves. People may be dying in the struggle for liberty but perhaps more will join up and overthrow the government as it's brutality is exposed and outrages the people.

We should not, as JQA said, go in search of monsters abroad as did the French Revolutionaries and Wilsonians. Intervention can lead to all sorts of unintended consequences...

No one is suggesting a comprehensive national mobilization to eject the regime in Syria (which in the case of the 1st World War required a 13 fold increase in the annual rate of nominal federal expenditure), just redeploying some of our existing Air Force.

Art, I did not in any way state that there would be a national mobilization of war. I recognize that it would "just" be a no-fly zone. Nevertheless, my point above is that we should not follow the policies of the French Revolutionaries who sought to destroy all monarchy around Europe or Wilson who sought to destroy despotism in Europe and install democratic regimes. The Syrian people need to work out their own liberty by destroying their despotic regime, as do the people of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere throughout the Middle East. But, Saudi Arabia has offered many reforms in order to forestall the same revolutionary feeling among its people so perhaps the demonstrations and regime-toppling elsewhere has had a salutary effect. Still, U.S. involvement in this process will only seem to fuel anti-Americanism in the region and thereby terrorism.

I did not in any way state that there would be a national mobilization of war

What is the point of making a reference to "French Revolutionaries" and "Wilsonians" and then disclaim any reference to what they actually did?

You still don't get it? Read my above two posts. Again, the point is, in the case of the French Revolutionaries, the Wilson administration, and the Bush and Obama administrations, there has been a search for monsters abroad ~ despots that America (or France) seeks to overthrow rather than allowing the people there to determine their own path to freedom and self-government. The Syrians need to work out their own course with American planes overhead (or boots on the ground).

I get it. I am telling you your analogies are inane. Think of ones of an appropriate scale.

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