Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Syria: Part 2

We’re hours away from getting the final verdict from the US congress on whether they will authorize punitive strikes on Syria for their use of chemical weapons against their own people; yet undoubtedly popular sentiment is one of resentment towards those seeking strikes. Expressions of discontent against the US and EU partners include: “They’re a bunch colonial warmongers” – “Bullies and selfish” – “False flag operations to justify intervention”. Meanwhile more moderate arguments range from “Intervention would be too risky” to “Risk of unintended consequences” to “We don’t really know who the rebels are”.

So what are all these concerned and ‘peace minded’ people of the world proposing when they refuse to support military intervention in Syria? Let’s Explore.

As with any situation with similar context, in international affairs there are only 3 major avenues of engaging with a problem.

Avenue 1: Politics.

Avenue 2: Law.

Avenue 3: Military Intervention.

Then there is of course the avenue, if you can call it that, of not dealing with the problem at all. Can any good leader be that short sighted? Especially since “The situation in Syria has become now the most troubling and most concerning issue for the international community and for humanity”.

This disengagement doctrine advocates a scenario where “if it’s not my problem then it’s not my problem to solve” irrelevant of whether the problem is solvable.  This philosophy takes not into consideration problems like global food or water shortage, sexual exploitation of children and women, slavery and forced labor.

Politics as Avenue 1:

On a local scale, avenue 1 has not worked. The regime was the party responsible for escalating the use of force against “legitimate demands”. And now as a result of the early atrocities, the Assad regime fears that if deposed, retaliation against their families and the Alawi clan will ensue.

On the international level, Russia sees its naval facility in Tartus, Syria (the only one in the world outside the former Soviet Union) as the major stumbling block for a negotiated solution.  Of course the need to project power and save face also plays its part on both sides, preventing a political solution.

Bottom line is that politics hasn’t worked for 2.5 years.

Law as Avenue 2:

Unlike Civil or Common law which are the predominant legal systems in the world, International Law is still in its infancy with much of it devised post World War 2 in 1945. Put simply, the chief arbiter of international law is the United Nations Security Council, a body which is political in nature, not legal.

The reality is that international law is new, experimental and work in progress. And the politics of the law have prevented any action being taken on Syria. Just like avenue 1, avenue 2 is also gridlocked.

Military as Avenue 3:

Some people propose sanctions as a measure of last resort instead of a military incentive. However sanction is a tool lost in political stalemate and “нет”. In otherwords, serious detrimental sanctions are off limits. Nowhere can this be better demonstrated than yesterday’s proposal by Russia’s foreign minister Mr. Lavarov, where he would rather take reactive measures than proactive ones, and certainly not punitive.

Your Problem. Yes you.

With military option being the only major course of action not yet exhausted, those who advocate no to military action are really just advocating no for any action. I’ll repeat, let it be clear that with politics and law neutralized, all these “peace minded people of the world” voting for no military action is tantamount to voting for NO ACTION AT ALL.

Situation in Syria

Syria, a country with over 22 million people, at least 73,000 of which have been killed (more like 100,000+), with more than 2,000,000 refugees, and at least 4,000,000 people internally displaced.

How many more people need to die before the global conversation shifts from “We don’t know who did it” to “We should’ve done something sooner”? 200,000 dead? 10 million refugees? When do we cross a threshold where we say “You know what? In hindsight we should’ve done something sooner” or “hindsight is 20/20”?

The reality is that for the majority of you there simply is no price high enough, no act bad enough and no point of accountability. You’ll just turn off your computer and never care what you said 30 years ago back in 2013, and what it lead to.

Ask a plumber who’s trying to make ends meet for his family if he wants to go to war, the answer will be no every time. A plumber fixes pipes.

With death toll averaging way north of 100 deaths a day for 30 months now, if global leaders don’t act, what does this say about our leaders? And what does this say about us?

Why Is This So Important?

Have a look at this video. It’s about half hour long. I don’t know what your eyes see or what your conscious tells you. But what it tells diplomats, academics and the global elites is something very dire. Those who care about the world, about human civilization, or about human progress, for us we want to leave behind a more moderate world, a world without the proliferation of radical extremist ideology or religion.

Nobody watching that video is going to come away thinking a scholar was made that day, and people multiply.

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