"My credibility isn't on the line, the whole international community's credibility is on the line" – Obama
It looks like the US is closer to military intervention in the Syria conflict thanks to Wednesday’s hearings on Capitol Hill. Although this approach would have been more ideal than arming opposition forces earlier, i.e. doing so lacks the long-term threat of loose arms, time has complicated things. If the International Community is, at least, supporting US action with some nations participating in limited military strikes, the US can shield itself from some of the ripple effects that result from the Assad regime’s eventual collapse. What really matters in terms of military intervention is the aftermath. From the testimony of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Security of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Security of State John Kerry, we can assume the US can intervene with relatively few costs and few risks to our forces while we can significantly degrade the ability of the Assad regime to retaliate militarily, though the treat of retaliator terrorism may be a different story. Consequently, what steps are taken to support a transition of power once the Assad regime begins to crumble will determine the foreseeable future of Syria, which will not be the responsibility of the US alone.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments against US lead action should be heard, but taken with a big grain of salt. The US is taking a risk in terms of circumventing UN channels; however, Syria has broken international conventions and that affords us a high degree of legitimacy in terms of acting with a resolution. Meanwhile, Putin chose to arm the Assad regime as it accelerated the slaughter of its own people. Putin has continually blocked attempts to reprimand and punish Assad for his misbehavior. Putin failed to dissuade the Assad regime from using chemical weapons. Moreover, Putin does not offer any effective solutions to dealing with the use of chemical weapons. A diplomatic approach and/or the use of sanctions cannot be effective, because the Assad regime is in crisis. In such a state, the regime will do anything it can to survive while it will only react to any immediate consequences, e.g. military intervention, and deal with any other consequences, if it survives, later. As such, Putin and other critics of US lead intervention need to demonstrate other solutions can be effective.
Read old posts