I am going to do something in this post that I am not supposed to do on this blog, as I committed to avoiding it. However, there is an issue in the international world that is bothering me a great deal, and I feel the need to share my woes, If you are wondering why I committed to avoiding the discussion of politics, it is because I am a Political Theory M.A. graduate, which means that I have too much to say, and become much to involved in my subject if I engage in politics too comprehensively. Regardless, the Syria situation is one that is frustrating me more and more each day as I read the news, and I cannot understand why I have not heard anyone discuss the real problem at the heart of the whole situation.
To give a brief recap-Syria is run by this terrible man named Bashar al-Assad, who for all intensive purposes is running the country like he owns it, rather than leads it. As a result, a bunch of people became increasingly frustrated and decided to take matters into their own hands, attempting to pull down Assad. These Syrian rebels began their movement in on 5 March 2011, as a part of what is now known as the “Arab Spring”. Since then, the battle between government and rebel forces have gone back and forth. However, beginning in November 2012, the rebel forces began to have increasing success. Many towns and areas were captured by the Syrian rebels who were gaining increasing momentum. Unfortunately, this was to end in April, when government forces again began to turn the tide. Why was it that the government forces were able to gain ground after such a long thrust by the rebels? First of all, Hezbollah began to assist. Secondly, and more importantly-Russian assistance was increased a significant amount. Russia had been supplying government forces with arms during most of the struggle, but their support greatly increased at this time. This support continues to the present-US Secretary of State John Kerry recently remarked how frustrating it is that, while headway is being made in taking possession of the chemical weapons possessed by the Syrian government, Russia is continually shipping mass amounts of high-powered weapons to the government, which will use these weapons both against the Rebels, as well as civilians.
So, who is the bad guy in this whole drama? Right now, the international community is screaming at Assad and saying how terrible he is for using chemical weapons. Obama was threatening to do a punishing strike (essentially slapping Assad on the wrist by killing people who were simply following his orders) for utilizing chemical weapons. What is being completely ignored is the fact that this entire problem would have resolved itself if it were not for Russian intervention. Historians do not like to engage in “what-if” situations, but I believe that it is fairly evident that without Russian weapons, the government would have lost this war quite some time ago, and a new government in Syria, set up by the people, would have been established. Instead, we have a drawn-out conflict that is becoming increasingly brutal and frustrating. The rebels are beginning to take their frustration out on civilians, and are turning to Muslim extremists for help because they have no other choice.
Assad is bad. Yes, we know-he’s a bad, nasty dude. So, why are we surprised by this? Punishing Assad is akin to punishing a shark for attacking fish. Sharks eat fish-bad guys do bad things. Get over it. However, Russia, and specifically Vladimir Putin claim to be active and cooperative members of the international community. Here’s the thing…they’re not. Who is breaking the rules? Assad never agreed to the rules, Putin did. Putin is the one that needs a slap on the wrist. But, that’s much too radical and scary. Instead of confronting the real problem in this situation, we collectively turn away and can all riled up about Assad-a fairly easy target for our Holy western wrath. Well, I say-enough. Stop ignoring the problem and deal with the real issue.
Please, feel free to comment and disagree with me-I am rather hoping that someone can give me a suitable defense for the way that the international world is acting, because my particular viewpoint is a rather depressing one to hold.