On Thursday, April 6th, a US warship launched an attack on a Syrian airbase in response to the allegations that Assad, the current leader of Syria, used a poison gas on his own people. Some context will be necessary to fully understand the importance of these actions.
For some Millennials, and all succeeding generations, America has not been in a state of peace for the entirety of their lives. Our involvement in Afghanistan, followed by our invasion of Iraq in 2003, has only seen marginal temporary benefits at the cost of a huge national debt and many lost American lives. Worse still, our stated purpose of fostering new democratic countries in the Middle East has failed along with our basic goal of stability in the region.
Our mistaken choice to depose Saddam Hussein and replace his regime with a democratically elected government, followed by our sudden withdrawal from Iraq during Obama’s presidency, has destabilized the region. The enemy, embodied in Sunni Islamic terrorism, has been the only party that reaped the rewards of this instability, especially with the onset of the Arab “Spring”. American idealistic foreign policy has failed time and again to realize that westernized secular democratic principles are not principles that the majority, or even a plurality, of those in the Arab world hold. This did not stop Obama from inciting violence and supporting Islamic groups to topple the legitimate sovereign governments of their respective nations.
The events Libya are graphic examples of US failed intervention. We removed a national leader and replaced him with lawlessness, poverty, and civil war. Again, Sunni Islamic terror has only spread with ISIS’s new presence in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi. Despite these failures, it seems as though American foreign policy is going to commit another error. Trump assigns blame for the chemical attack to the current leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, and in retaliation launched 59 missiles at one of his airfields. This is despite the fact that there has yet to be any evidence to back that claim that the Syrian government was the one who employed the chemical weapon’s. There is still question as to whether the Syrians just happened to bomb a Rebel store of chemical gas.
Russian presence in Syria is an added ingredient in this Molotov cocktail that US foreign policy advisers are underestimating. Russia, the only other country with as many nuclear weapons as the United States, is in a precarious position. Their rebound after the fall of the Soviet Union has seen a period of aggressive foreign policy and heightened national pride within Russia. New found Russian vigor and nationalism is no doubt a quality the American citizen population lacks, but it does not seem to quell the desire for war in our American neo-liberal and neo-conservative governing elite. Russia has yet to formally address the United States in regards to its strike on the Syrian military compound. A sincere patriot can only hope that President Trump does not escalate our military involvement in Syria. We are on the cusp of another odyssey of war in the middle-east that could be enough to trigger a major nuclear conflict on the scale of Mutually Assured Destruction.
As a patriot, a call by our country’s leader to fight will always be answered in the affirmative, but this does not mean that a responsible leader picks every fight he can. Especially when the benefits are trivial and the risks are immense.