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Should America Enter Syria's Hell?

September 3, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

On Saturday President Barack Obama surprised most everyone in America by making the right decision and asking Congress for authority to go to war in Syria. Now Congress should make the right decision and vote no.

One of the impacts of being a superpower is that America has interests everywhere. However, most of those interests are modest, even peripheral. Conflicts and crises abound around the globe, but few significantly impact U.S. security. So it is with Syria.

The bitter civil war obviously is a human tragedy. However, the conflict is beyond repair by Washington.

Ronald Reagan’s greatest mistake was getting involved in the Lebanese civil war, which at one point contained 25 warring factions. The U.S. invasion of Iraq sparked civil conflict which killed tens or even hundreds of thousands of civilians. Allied intervention in Libya prolonged that brutal low-tech battle and left terrorism and instability in its wake. Egypt, where America has successively backed dictatorship, democracy, and military rule, seems headed towards growing violent conflict, with the possibility of terrorism and even civil war.

Civil wars are particularly resistant to outside solution. The antagonisms run deep and there often are multiple parties, none of whom may want peace. In Syria the radical Islamists appear to be gaining influence. It is not obvious how the same government officials who have made such a mess of so many other countries would fix Syria.

Nor would the fighting likely end even if the U.S. ousted the Assad regime. Insurgent factions then likely would fight for dominance of either the whole of Syria or breakaway regions. For many rebels revenge against those backing the regime, as well as members of groups noted for their support, such as Alawites and Christians, would become a top priority. Then the U.S. would have to intervene again — or ignore the bloodletting, as it did in Kosovo when ethnic Albanians exacted retribution.

Far from advancing U.S. security, getting involved in Syria would ensnare Americans in a completely unnecessary conflict.”

Even if nation-building in Syria wasn’t such a daunting task, the U.S. government should not risk the lives of its citizens in conflicts where Americans have no substantial stake. Policymakers have no warrant to be generous with fellow citizens’ lives. Protecting this nation, its territory, people, liberty, and prosperity, remains the highest duty for Washington.

Far from advancing U.S. security, getting involved in Syria would ensnare Americans in a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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