Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Case Against Intervention in Syria

From Ralph Peters, who let's just be clear, is no dove:

Maybe it's time to come to our senses and see that this isn't our fight. The human suffering in Syria is appalling, but Arabs are doing this to each other. If the Saudis, with their impressive US-supplied arsenal, won't intervene directly, why should we? If our NATO-partner Turks, with the region's most-potent military, won't stop the butchery, why is doing so our responsibility?

In the brutal light of Realpolitik, is it a bad thing to have the last Baathists, Hezbollah, and Salafist fanatics killing each other? Yes, the suffering's deplorable. But consider what happened when we leapt into the endless Afghan civil war.

Do we have the sophistication to get this right? No.

As for Israel's supporters — of which I am one — shouldn't we recognize that, with Israel's mortal enemies busy slaughtering each other, they're not killing Israelis? Might it not be useful if Syria remained a Vietnam for fanatical Islamists, Hezbollah and Arab nationalists alike?
At this point, is the odious Assad regime faintly preferable to a radical jihadi state? As someone who long backed the rebels, I have to put this question to myself honestly.

What are our security interests? The key issue is the safety of the regime's chemical weapons. Our military contingencies should focus solely on preventing the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction to fanatics.

Syria's complexity is daunting: A major regional struggle for hegemony waged as a proxy war; a showdown between Sunni and Shia, with minorities trapped in the middle; a parallel contest between modernizers and fundamentalists; and the bloody dissolution of the artificial borders imposed by Europeans at the Versailles peace conference nine decades ago.

This is a titanic struggle. We have to make sure we're not the ultimate losers.

Has Obama backed himself into a corner with his red-line braggadocio? He suddenly seems to see 50 shades of red; let's hope that caution continues: We must be wary of letting chemical-weapons use lure us into abetting the rise of a terrorist state in Syria.

If Arabs will not help their brothers and sisters, why should we? The Syria crisis is anArab failure. Let's not make it America's failure, too.

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