The United States and Russia reached a deal over the weekend regarding how to go about eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shepherded the deal after a marathon of negotiation sessions. The deal involves creating an inventory of Syria’s chemical weapons and destroying them over time. If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fails to comply, the nations reserve the right to impose sanctions on Syria.
The heated debate over Syrian chemical weapons use and whether the U.S. should get involved militarily has been raging for weeks, including in Mount Pleasant.
Political science professor Sterling Johnson said some of the details surrounding the attack are not as clear as they should be and believes Assad was not responsible for the attack on his people.
“I believe an autonomous military figure in Assad’s army was the one who ordered the chemical attack, not Assad himself,” Johnson said. “Assad knows the consequences of ordering the attack on his own people.”
When asked if he supports U.S. intervention, Johnson said he does not see enough of a direct threat to the U.S. to get involved in the conflict.
“I do not support either side. We should not intervene in their civil war,” Johnson said. “This war will not affect us at home.”
President Barack Obama and the U.S. have been threatening military action in Syria since an August chemical weapons attack killed thousands of Damascus civilians. Obama said should diplomatic talks break down, the U.S. would be ready to strike key military targets that would, in theory, prevent the Syrian government from using chemical weapons again.
When asked if the U.S. should intervene, Evert freshman Lydia Wetters thought of the repercussions of another Middle East bombing campaign.
“The Syrian government is corrupt, and there’s going to be more death,” Wetters said. “If all we do is bomb other countries, they will just hate us even more.”
Wetters said a diplomatic approach is the Obama administration’s best course of action.
“If the U.S. would intervene diplomatically and would give aid to the Syrian people, I would support it,” she said.
Mount Pleasant freshman Taylor Felton was skeptical to jump to conclusions on whether Assad was the one responsible for the August attacks.
“I believe if Assad wanted to stay in power that bad(ly), he would have gassed his own people, but then again, it could be a rogue element in the military, too,” Felton said. “I believe we should intervene, but only to peacefully negotiate.”