Obama and the Syria conundrum

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Energon, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    This thread is designed to discuss the American POV and not the Syrian conflict itself per se. So mods please don't merge this thread with another generalized one.


    I'm against any American intervention in Syria for the following reasons:

    • There is no "good outcome": This is pretty obvious. It'll be another classic example of a power vacuum induced catastrophe. Throwing full support behind the rebels would be a disaster. There was an attempt to provide short term support to force Assad to the negotiating table, but even that didn't work.
    • There no end point in mind: The administration has been floundering on listing the exact objectives of the Syrian intervention. They don't intend to destroy the current regime or kill Assad, there's no plan to make it into a peace keeping venture (untenable anyways). At this point it's something along the lines of "punitive strikes" against the military units which supposedly carried out the attacks with the hope that it'll deter Assad from using chemical weapons again. How the destruction of select military hardware and infrastructure associated with a particular unit of the national army serves as an effective deterrent remains an unsubstantiated theory.
    • The evidence is still a bit shoddy.
    • We have absolutely nothing to gain by getting involved here. This again is an obvious fact, it's not like anyone in that part of the world is going to thank us for crippling Assad and saving innocent lives. If anything it'll merely be another addition to the "great Satan" narrative.
    • Russia and China will be let off the hook yet again. This impending intervention has shifted all the focus upon the US and NATO members. Nobody's talking about how Russia and China are actively protecting a genocidal regime (there is a long historical precedence for this). Nobody ever fails to bring up the evils of American foreign policy (rightfully so)... well China and Russia aren't any different, if anything they're worse and this fact will never get the attention it deserves if we steal the spotlight yet again.
    • The actual reason for intervention is not justifiable. Yes, partly this is about punishing a terrible dictator who's doing terrible things. But this is turning out to be more about geopolitical prestige. The prevalent dogma (which I don't agree with) is that not following through on the attacks will make America look weak and thereby embolden adversarial nations like Russia, China and Iran who will then pose a "national security risk." This is actually a rather immature outlook. Our ego can no longer be considered a matter of national security. Not being aggressive may give adversarial entities some bragging rights, but that poses no palpable threat to us. Sometimes not doing anything is the best option. All these adversarial nations are actually pretty terrible and brutal regimes, and as I mentioned before the US really needs to keep out of the spotlight and let the world see the true nature of Assad's protectors.

    Obama has basically cornered himself by setting his "red lines". He should have never done it. Granted internal politics is a major factor here. His political opponents would trash him for being "weak" and indifferent to "moral issues"; like it or not the petty politics of the United States makes it compulsory for an American president to persist with the hegemonic outlook. Obama may not be a trigger happy moron like his predecessor, but he isn't exactly a pacifist either, so I'm totally expecting him to go through with this.

    I have no doubt that there are many Syrians who would disagree with me because at this point they are desperate for any intervention. I am by no means blind or indifferent to the horrible humanitarian disaster here. I just don't think the United States has anything positive to offer (in the long term). At some point the inhabitants of the middle east are going to have to resolve their own issues, and if they align themselves with Russia and China then so be it; after all the consequences are theirs to face.
     
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  3. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    I believe that Syrian civil war is in US interest

    Let the Shias and Sunnis slug it out and kill each other
     
  4. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    In my Minds

    US is the Only Nation had Power to stop Syrian Civil war

    If US intrude into Syria Right now the Death Toll stalled in 1.30 lakhs and >1000 of Syrian Soldiers Killed in combat with US

    If they stalled the Decision We can add 5K innocence Syrian civilians deaths Per Month
     
  5. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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  6. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Naive indeed

    [​IMG]

    Sudan - Check,
    Lybia - Check
    Tunisia - Check
    Venezula - (Chavez cancer) - Check

    Syria - Aye Aye Sir.
     
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  7. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    The US has the power to demolish the Syrian national army and depose Assad, however that does not mean the civil war will end or that the death toll won't keep rising. There's no real unified opposition to the current regime; it's a mish mash of various sectarian groups- some of them heavily armed, violent and radicalized. Chances are in the event of a power vacuum these groups would turn on each other and continue the blood bath and there's absolutely nothing the US can do about it. This phenomenon has already occurred in Somalia where the US was unable to curtail the horrible violence due to the civil war.

    Point being the US in spite of its military might does not have the ability to stop a civil war in a crumbling state with long standing underlying issues. The real solution to such situations tends to be political in nature, not military; and by default whoever has the most political leverage can be most effective. In the case of Syria it's not the US

    On the other hand the Russians (and Chinese up to a certain extent) could have intervened immediately and stopped Assad from escalating the violence. But neither one of these nations really gives a damn about things like this.
     
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  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    For what it's worth, I just posted a comment on The White House website that the United States has the technical ability to permanently destroy the Syrian chemical weapons production facilities and stockpiles in a manner without risk to people or the environment, because the US itself did that with its own chemical weapons (a much larger volume as well).

    The Syrian Crisis and Chemical Weapons

    There is no value in launching missiles at Syrian chemical storage sites from stand-off positions. What I propose involves a much greater investment in Syria than a few Tomahawks.

    As yet, Barack has not gotten back to me...
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
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  9. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    From the RT article:

    Let us hope Putin's military advisers are better than those of Nicholas II's.
     
  10. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    I read your article. How exactly is your proposal suppose to be carried out? I saw the objectives of the proposal but no mention of the actual logistics required to undertake this venture.
     
  11. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    nice post.what about kazakhstan
     
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    The facilities in which the US chemical munitions were destroyed (basically by incineration) no longer exist as far as I know. Therefore the option of shipping Assad's munitions to Johnson Atoll, for example, is not feasible. But the technology has been proven and new facilities could be built in Syria. The primary agency which completed the project exists today. There was considerable effort done in risk assessment and numerous publications on those subjects exist for the project. I was one of many reviewers for the Environmental Risk Assessments.

    I would propose that the United Nations oversee the overall elimination and complete physical destruction of Syrian chemical munitions. That would require good intel about the location and characteristics of the weapons.

    We can probably agree that the final solution to the threat is not the periodic attempts to intimidate the Assad regime.
     
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  13. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Your proposal would essentially need to meet one of two requirements:
    1. Mass scale invasion with boots on the ground to secure the weapons stockpile for a prolonged duration... essentially an occupation
    2. Active cooperation from the Syrian government.

    The first is not feasible, the second is a non sequitur. Also who's suppose to pay for all of this? We have neither the resources nor the public support to put boots on the ground. Also co opting the CMA and CDC into such a venture... talk about big government spending! Fox and Friends would throw a fit.

    As things stand there is no way to access the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile in order to dismantle them as you suggest even if we know where they are. Second, nobody seems to be interested in funding or manning a mass scale occupation/ peace keeping mission which would enable prolonged access to the weapons.
    Also I'm glad you brought up the UN. The UN was suppose to be the organization designed to handle such matters. Unfortunately we spent the past few decades undermining and neutering the organization (which is now a heaping pile of scrap). In retrospect we should have spent more efforts in strengthening that institution (given that we were the sole super power) in order to deploy them effectively in a hopeless situation like this. Besides, not only is the UN a heaping scrap pile but we have lost all credibility with them after our idiotic Iraq debacle.

    Which brings us back to the core of my message... we have nothing meaningful to contribute and certainly nothing to gain by getting involved in this mess. We do not have the wherewithal or the public support to play globo-cop. I feel really bad for the Syrians, but our efforts would be much better spent strengthening our own crumbling institutions (governmental and private).

    If something is truly to be done then every country with any modicum of global importance is going to have to stand up, pitch in and pick up their share of the tab.
     
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  14. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    I agree with those points, and I think you and I agree that the bombardment of Syria (what you call an American intervention) is pointless.

    A short term appeasement of global outrage will be forgotten in a month.
     
  15. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    The American public will easily bite another WMD story. They reelected Bush after all.
     
  16. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    So you are supporting the FSA and NATO intervention?

    After knowing the kind of rabid AQ-type haters will come into power if Assad falls?
     
  17. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    There is not much to be gained in Syria for Americans. The cost-benefit ratio is just not good enough. Russia won't be too pleased if America enters Syria. The dead Syrians and all the hoomanitarian intervention nonsense are for naive simpletons.
     
  18. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Supporting US lead NATO's Intervene But Not the FSA

    Supporting FSA is holding Snake in Packet
     
  19. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    yeah WMD=Words of Massive Deception

    Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
     
  20. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    At this point I see no point in any sort of intervention may it be interdiction using guided missiles in the short term or a grander involvement as you're suggesting in the long term. While I found the details of dismantling the explosives in your article very informative, the central thesis of your message is categorically incongruent with ground realities.

    A big part of the problem is the cognitive dissonance that is pervasive in our internal politics. The dimwit right wing loves waging war under some delusional sense of being high and mighty But at the same time they want to bring Obama down even if he takes their beloved route of violence. Obama in order to protect his political stock value is playing his role as the intimidator and chief, even though based on his practical views on recent wars it's more than likely that he doesn't buy into any of this crap. Yet he will not give his deluded opposition the satisfaction of calling him a coward. So this is essentially a Mexican stand off of egos. Lastly, the equally deluded liberals on the left are now coming around to supporting some sort of action in Syria in order to "save the people." On one hand they apparently do not like war but at the same time they want to save the world. I have as yet to see any honest dialogue regarding the blatant reality that we have nothing significant to contribute in the short or the long term (unilaterally and/or along with NATO allies).

    Then there's the problem with our concept of "national security." We as a nation have bought into this ridiculous notion that our ego is a paramount virtue of our national security. This is silly. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that the world actually "needs our leadership" in the form of spouting fiery rhetoric when something goes wrong. Maybe it's time we take a lesson from the Chinese and see the strategic importance of learning to STFU when the time is right. If we're truly talking national security our first priority should be to highlight Russia and China's support of Assad, just as they have done many times in the past with actively genocidal regimes in Eastern Europe and Africa. Shedding light upon China and Russia's outlook on dirty geopolitics will make us look better in the long term.

    Since we have nothing substantial to offer might as well save the time and money. Let's not forget deploying warships, constant air patrols and launching missiles literally costs us millions of dollars by the hour (if not by the minute). This money would be much better spent on ourselves. If a sizable portion of the world really wants us to intervene then let them make an earnest request. Preemptively jumping in eventually results in being taken for granted by the very people we're trying to save. I do not want to see this mistake repeated.
     
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  21. Poseidon

    Poseidon Regular Member

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    After the chemical attacks I no longer have any sympathy for assad.
    I will respect any decision taken by Obama.
     
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