Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Fareed Zakaria (CNN) “But, first, here’s my take, whatever the twisted path, whether by design or accident, the Obama administration has ended up in a better place on Syria than looked possible even days ago.

The agreement forged by John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, is just the first step of course. The Syrian government has to cooperate, but it will face pressure from Moscow to do so.

On hearing of the agreement, some have reacted with dismay. This agreement does not remove Bashar al-Assad from power, it does nothing to stop his regime and its brutal suppression, it does nothing to end the humanitarian tragedy in that country.

It’s true that the agreement is not designed to stop the warfare and the suffering in Syria, but what exactly would do that? Do we know that a U.S. strategy, a military intervention to topple the dictator and change the regime would actually end human suffering in Syria?

Let’s recall a recent example when America ousted a dictator, changed the regime and believed that peace and liberty and prosperity would flourish. It was, of course, in Iraq and what happened was very different. The deposed regime and its supporters fought back fiercely. The sectarian lines of Iraqi society turned into battle lines. Islamic militants, including al-Qaeda, poured into the country often funded by neighboring countries.

The result was a 10-year civil war with, at minimum, 130,000 dead and potentially more than 250,000 dead, Iraqi civilians, and at least 1.5 million refugees, most of whom have not come back to Iraq.

From a humanitarian point of view, American intervention and regime change substantially worsened the humanitarian nightmare of Iraq. Now, I don’t believe that the example of Iraq should color all American foreign policy.

But surely when people suggest that Washington should militarily intervene and perhaps depose a dictator in an Arab country that is literally next door to Iraq, which, as in Iraq, is also composed of a minority regime with an opposition to that regime that also has within it several Islamic militant groups, it’s fair to look at the Iraqi example and ask what happened.

Do we have any clear reason to believe that the struggle for power in Syria would be any different than that in Iraq, that American military intervention in this case would just stop all the fighting and produce peace?

Don’t we have to think through the likely consequences of American intervention before we self-confidently propose action?

President Obama has mobilized world attention about chemical weapons. There is a chance, still small, that a process begins that monitors and even destroys all Syria’s chemical arsenal.

Almost certainly, such weapons won’t be used again by the Assad regime. That’s more than could have been achieved through airstrikes, which are unlikely to have destroyed such weapons. Bombing chemical weapons facilities almost always releases toxins into the atmosphere. That’s why they are not targeted.

This agreement doesn’t end the human suffering, it doesn’t rid the world of an evil dictator, but it is a step forward in a terrible crisis.”



Posted September 16, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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