Saturday, April 23, 2011

Standing By Passively

The Washington Post is upset about what the editors call "Shameful US Inaction on Syria":
Massacres on this scale usually prompt a strong response from Western democracies, as they should. Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied. In Syria’s case, none of this has happened. The Obama administration has denounced the violence — a presidential statement called Friday’s acts of repression “outrageous” — but otherwise remained passive. Even the ambassador it dispatched to Damascus during a congressional recess last year remains on post.
To this I say: 1) nothing short of an invasion is going to dislodge Assad or change his policies; 2) invasion would be a disaster, even assuming we could find troops and planes to start another war in a fourth Muslim country; so 3) nothing we do at this point matters. Sure, we could denounce Assad and call for his ouster, and I wish we would. But I doubt he is going to be ousted, and the denunciations would only make it harder for us to deal with the regime later. Syria is not Egypt, where we have strong ties with the military, or Bahrain, allegedly a close ally. Syria is our enemy, and we already have sanctions in place against them. We have no leverage in Syria.

Anger should be directed at the oppressors, not outsiders who refuse to intervene in what is, really, the Syrians' business.

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