– Point-Counterpoint: Should the U.S. intervene in Syria?

Graphic by Christian Kessler for The Current 2012 ©

 

The United States has no compelling moral or political imperative to warrant a military commitment in Syria. The recent incident, while violent and infinitely tragic, is a foreign domestic issue, and does not warrant the interest or intervention of the American people or our resources. Failure to recognize the boundaries and limitations of our political power is devastating to our global reputation, and cripples our efforts at foreign diplomacy. Ignoring the will of the American people in an attempt to subvert regional leadership arrogantly assumes international authority and further propagates the predominant anti-American sentiments held by millions in the Middle East.

Back when Bush was in office, just after our own domestic tragedy of 9/11, Congress was presented with what they were told was irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime was harboring stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Based on this confidence, the United States initiated a military combat endeavor on foreign soil, a bloody and fruitless commitment that still fires shots over a decade later. After in-depth investigations, soil samples, bunker tours and aerial photography, after thousands of soldiers dead and wounded on either side, there is yet to be even the slightest shred of physical evidence supporting the original assertion of WMD’s in Iraq. An entire war, pinned to a fabrication of fact, a goose chase, a witch hunt.

Parallels like the previous one between our past and present are the basis of incorporating history into our everyday decision making, both in our emergency planning and political reasoning. Information on international atrocities is terrifying and upsetting, moreso if the most feasible solution is inaction, but this is an accurate political point of view when contemplating the current Syrian crisis. Civil war requires no unprovoked foreign intervention, especially when those offering the aid are ailing themselves. Our involvement in unrelated international affairs insults those in international power, and damages our reputation as ambassadors by making us look like nosy warlords.

The United States cannot afford another war like Iraq. It is ill-advised and economically impossible for a country so laden with self-accrued debt and seen so negatively by the global community for provoking war without incurring insult warranting action. Now is not the time for knee-jerk missile strikes on a country with its own leadership, especially when the regime has no formal or friendly relationship with us. Now is the time not for military intervention, but for international restraint.

©  The Current 2013