On Thursday, Bloomberg News posted an article by Fouad Ajami detailing his reasons for supporting American action in Syria. Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is the author of “The Syrian Rebellion,” published by Hoover Press.
The article reminds us:
In his first term, his four principal foreign policy advisers — the secretaries of state and defense, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — supported arming the rebellion in Syria: He overrode them. Earlier this year, he himself promised the rebels weapons that were never delivered.
History will record for Obama that it was Bashar al-Assad who dragged him into this fight. Obama had made much of the distinction between wars of choice and wars of necessity. He is said to have pondered theories of just and unjust wars. To this Syrian ordeal, he came late in the hour, after the barbarisms, after the veritable destruction of Syria’s nationhood, after the jihadis had carved out their emirates. It doesn’t matter much whether this entanglement is one of choice or of necessity. This is only partly a hand that Barack Obama was dealt. To a greater extent, he has shaped the conflict with the passivity he opted for in a standoff with a petty dictator who should have been thwarted long before.
The argument here is that had America intervened at the beginning, it would have been easier to shape the rebel forces, hopefully influencing them toward democracy.
When Bashar al-Assad eventually falls (and I believe he will), there will be few tears shed anywhere. However, there does not seem to be a coalition willing to remove him. Mr. Ajami points out that one of the problems in the Middle East is that dictators get attacked, survive, and claim victory, even after having everything around them destroyed in the attack.
Because of this, Mr. Ajami suggests:
The Syrian regime must then be denied the dividends of an inconclusive military campaign. The regime itself — its barons, its secret police, its elite military units and its air bases — ought to be legitimate targets, and the same is true of Assad’s presidential palace. There should be conviction and courage in this fight with the Assad dictatorship.
President Obama has given no indications that he is capable of conviction and courage. There has been so much dithering in deciding how to deal with Syria, it makes my head hurt.
Again, I wanted to post an opinion in support of American intervention in Syria. Fouad Ajami is someone I respect and who has a very complete knowledge of how the Middle East works. However, I am still not convinced. We didn’t do too well in Egypt when we supported the ousting of a dictator–we got the Muslim Brotherhood. Unfortunately, it will be years before peace reigns in Egypt. Are we ready to do that again? It seems that all America accomplishes with her good intentions in the Middle East is to destabilize the region. Until I am convinced that American action in Syria will actually move the region toward peace and democracy, I can’t support action.