It appears that the U.S. is moving closer to launching a war against Syria, as if we need any more wars. Certain officials in Washington seem intent on finding an excuse to attack. I wish they'd launch a war on poverty, inequality, a lagging education system & unemployment with the same kind of energy.
I'm afraid Mr. Nobel Peace Prize will bow to pressure again and take another step to get us entangled in the mess there. The U.S. always seems to get suckered into these wars. It happened in Iraq (with phony information from opposition groups) and to some degree in Afghanistan (with Al Qaeda wanting...as one of its goals... to draw the U.S. to the region so that they could slaughter our people). The U.S. and its allies fall for it every time. Hopefully (praying) this time they won't. But so far it doesn't look good. What most Americans don't understand is that the war in Syria includes Jihadi extremist groups (terrorists... including Al Qaeda) vs. the FSA opposition, as well as Opposition vs. Assad, and Jihadi extremists vs. Assad. It's not just FSA vs. Assad. There is a 3, 4, 5 way major battle taking place...not including smaller factions within those sides jockeying for power. There are numerous groups with an incentive to use chemical weapons. The Jihadi terrorists would certainly use chemical weapons if they stumbled upon them. The opposition, which the UN has already suspected of chemical weapons use, deinitely has a motive to use them in order to drag the U.S. into their stupid, brutal, senseless civil war. The Assad government would actually have the least to gain from using chemical weapons. It makes little sense for them to use such weapons with a UN chemical weapons inspection team just arriving.
There is no viable military option in Syria. Direct U.S. military intervention would make the situation worse, at least in the short term (hitting the military would inevitably mean hitting infrastructure that civilians rely on...compounding the suffering). U.S. involvement also runs the risk of spreading the war.... drawing in other countries. Russia is already suggesting involvement...at least enough to try to keep Assad afloat.
Once again the U.S. is listening to a shady opposition...this time in Syria. This is the same opposition that was reportedly caught in possession of dangerous weapons...and based on a UN report was responsible for chemical weapons use. But these are the groups that U.S. leaders are now relying on for information. It's the worst kind of deja vu.
Luckily Gen. Dempsey doesn't want any part of the mess in Syria. He is trying to get the warmongering idiots in Washington to settle down. It's funny how John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the other cheerleaders for war always say "listen to the Generals". But I guess that doesn't apply this time. But as Dempsey has indicated...the cost/benefit analysis for going to war is lopsided in favor of not attacking. Going in would likely make matters worse, not better....while at the same time... it would not solve any of the problems related to the use of chemicals. In fact, if the rebels are responsible...a U.S. military strike will simply encourage them to keep using chemicals to get the U.S. to do what they want the U.S. to do... to attack and get further entangled in their war.
Public opinion is on the side of staying out. In one survey, almost 70% of Americans polled said that the U.S. should stay out of Syria.... including 68% of Democrats & 69% of Republicans. Rare consensus.
Yet Obama will be pressured to attack (notice how there was never this kind of pressure to help the poor folks in Rwanda or Darfur...dying in far greater numbers...but deemed unimportant because they were Black Africans). Add Israel & oil to a region (selfish interests in the big scheme of things) and all of a sudden the U.S. finds a humanitarian heart & is concerned.
I say stay out of the mess in Syria. I hope caution & sanity (and our best interests at home) wins the argument for once. This war, as brutal as it may seem, is not our war to fight. There is this idea that every war (with the exception of parts of central and southern Africa) requires U.S. intervention. American officials have really bought into the insane idea that the U.S. must save the world... that we are the almighty global hegemon that must police the world and intervene militarily everywhere it can.
Give the rebels humanitarian assistance and perhaps more.... but let them fight their own battles. Instead... the U.S. should work on a political settlement, although with extremist groups now involved, that will be more difficult.
There should be more pressure applied to the Russians (and perhaps the Chinese) to get cooperation from Assad. The Russians should be shamed. Russia is not a normal country and doesn't adhere to diplomatic norms. It is run by old KGB figures.... essentially like a mafia State. But as cold-hearted and indifferent as they may be, there are two things that Russia still cares about: 1). Its image around the world and, 2). Money (economics). Russia, unlike some other renegade countries, does not want to be isolated. The Russian government knows that it must keep the average Russian relatively happy.... or at least it doesn't want to spark too much economic instability and discord among the masses. It must also keep the Russian elite happy (those who run the nation and control the financial system). To do that, Russia must maintain good relationships with other countries.
If other countries are so concerned about Syria they should show it by dialing back their economic ties (at least temporarily) with Russia. If you hit Russian trade and slow international investment...and if Europe in particular could find ways to significantly cut its use of Russian energy, Russia will feel the pinch and would quickly realize that Assad isn't worth the cost. Russia has to be shown that it is in its best interests to be more cooperative with the bulk of the international community and end its efforts to re-establish the Cold War (something that I have always said never went away... but it is clear now that Russia wants to bring back the Cold War of old). The U.S. and other countries should, at the same time, put more carrots on the table for Russia. Letting them know that cooperation could lead to more economic benefits for Russia.
Countries could also threaten to boycott the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Russia wouldn't want that PR disaster. There are a number of creative ways to deal with Russia.
I am hoping that this time, sanity will prevail.