A Red Line?

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

Now that it is clear that Syria’s dictator Assad used chemical weapons upon his own people, the U.S. is faced with a foreign policy nightmare.

The use of chemical weapons, outlawed internationally since WWI, is considered an abomination and universally condemned.

President Barack Obama has said that the use of such weapons in the Syrian civil war would be a “red line in the sand.” So what would be the proper U.S. response?

This writer argues that the only reason the international community outlawed chemical weapons is that their use proved to be problematic and as dangerous to the attacker as to the victim.

Dead is dead, and arguing that dying from a chemical attack is more “inhumane” than napalm or cluster bombs is ludicrous. Consequently, justifying intervention in this civil war on such false morality would be disastrous to U.S. interests.

Obama believes that he can publicly position himself in a favorable light with grandiose proclamations while covertly accomplishing his socialistic and anti-colonial (i.e. anti-American) goals.

Risking American lives (does anyone remember Benghazi?) to make a moral statement in Syria, while not advancing any American interests will only serve to advance the cause of our enemies.

By Joe Carbonari

It appears to me that it would be a mistake for the United States, acting alone, to strike militarily in Syria. Acting in concert with our traditional Western allies would give us more comfort, but still does not seem wise.

The risks appear too great; the rewards too unsure.

“Punishment” alone ought not to be our end goal, but rather it should be to make it significantly less likely that weapons of mass destruction are used again.

If that’s the case, then we’d best think in terms of getting rid of those leaders that advocate, or accept, their use. That means regime change, and we should stop dancing around it.

Do we have the justification, and the ability, at an acceptable cost, to accomplish it? That’s doubtful.

The Middle East is a tinderbox. Hatred and mistrust of the West in general and the United States in particular are feelings widespread and deeply held.

We have friends and allies, of course, but while they condemn Assad, his regime, and its actions, they stop short of endorsing a military strike. And they fear its consequences.

Better we should continue to work with our friends in the Arab League to accelerate Assad’s departure in a way that does not so seriously risk enflaming the region.

Both humanitarianism and realpolitik call for it.

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