On the morning of Aug. 21, three hospitals in Damascus, Syria saw an onslaught of new patients.
Although these patients were not visibly wounded, they were clearly suffering from blurred vision, pinpoint pupils, respiratory issues, convulsions and an excessive amount of saliva. They were victims of a sarin gas chemical attack.
The Syrian Civil War isn’t new. It began with an early 2011 peace protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Those protests were met with counter-protests and eventually led to a violent conflict with the government and the rebels being accused of war crimes and unnecessary killings.
Should America step in?
The United States has been called the “global police,” largely because of our humanitarian efforts and our insistent nature to involve ourselves everywhere in the world – we have military personnel in 153 countries worldwide.
Why step in now? Over the course of the Syrian Civil War, 100,000 lives have said to have been claimed. August was witness to 350 deaths.
If we are “global humanitarians,” you would think a chord would have been struck at some point in the first 99,650 deaths.
In general, our country has a long-standing practice of being firmly against chemical warfare. The Obama administration draws a “red line,” so to speak, when it comes to regimes that violate this protocol.
That would make perfect sense if the U.S. didn’t supply military support to Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1988, knowing full well he had intentions to deploy the same exact gas on the battlefield.
While a recent German investigation casts doubts on whether Assad himself approved chemical weapons use, Assad is clearly dedicated on control of his country and doesn’t appear to let much get in his way. The fact that 100,000 people have been killed in Syria is a testimony to that. But does that warrant U.S. involvement? Is playing the position of “world police” really beneficial for us as a country?
In times of disaster, we are quick to send aid into foreign countries to help those citizens affected and to lend a hand to help stabilize other nations. We support other countries, like Egypt and Israel, with billions of dollars – taxpayer dollars – to build up their economies and boost their militaries. Never mind the fact that our own economy is in a state of utter disarray.
As a world superpower, the U.S. has a responsibility to monitor its happenings. But the extreme to which our country supervises is overkill.
We need to find a balance between stepping in and leaving matters alone.
The country as a whole is just now overcoming the wars from Afghanistan and Iraq, and getting involved with another conflict within the Middle East could be a mistake.
The balance between isolationism and interventionism is easy enough to talk about. It’s taking the gradual steps to find the inner middle that is the hard part.
Maybe next time.