Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Syria: what to do?

Does the US have a moral duty to intervene in Syria?

Thank you to Max Fisher and Amanda Taub for analyzing this question in Sunday's New York Times.


On the yes side: We are special.  We have a responsibility to champion democracy throughout the world.  Bashar al-Assad is killing thousands of his own people, Holocaust-style, to put down the attempt to overthrow his brutal government.  The UN and other nations are not doing enough.  We need to stop Russia's bombing of Aleppo and other cities.

On the no side:  We made terrible mistakes when we intervened in Vietnam and Iraq.  We don't have the ability to make positive change in Syria through military intervention.  We might only make things worse in the Middle East.  It's "a complex, multisided war," not a simple case of good guys and bad guys.

The two authors interview Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University, Joseph S. Nye Jr. of Harvard University, and Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

There's no easy answer, but the reasons for why it's so difficult are worth reading.

I am grateful that President Obama chose not to intervene--though the slaughter by Russian and Syrian bombing is a horror to watch.

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