If the US isn’t taking sides in the conflict, why is it escalating it by putting arms in the hands of people who are so mad they are homicidal/suicidal? The opposition is not even one solid faction, but several pretty angry groups. Even if they won, they are angry enough by now, that they are unlikely to get along. This point is a practical one, but it actually has no bearing on the moral argument against outside involvement.
Bashar Assad needs a way out. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He’s a man trying against all odds to keep his country together in the face of 2 factions of people – one who wants more freedom for everyone like the Arab Spring in other countries, and one who wants less freedom for everyone. He (and the Syrian people) are going through hell right now.
Russia was wrong to arm the regime, but Putin is, I believe, correct, in his positional statement. I don’t think the talks need to happen in Geneva. They need to happen between the 2 (or multiple) groups in the presence of those neighboring countries who are taking the refugees (if others really need to be present). Locally.
As to the issue of chemical weapons, if they were used on a given scale in the war (a tragedy and line that was crossed), it may have been intimidation, or, alternatively, it may have been a few people who wanted to trigger outside involvement, so that the war would end. It will be hard to know who exactly was involved.
Not everyone in Syria was ready for change. Don’t demonize the guy out of self-interest. The point to achieve is for Assad to release everyone who wants more freedom. Don’t arm anyone. Help those who want to leave, to leave with Assad’s blessing. You can be angry. You can express your anger without being threatened with jail. But you can’t kill. Period.
Let everything calm down. Save lives. Save families. Save history and art. Save national identity.
In some ways, politics is the art of making “sloppy” or low resolution set unions of unpopular sets with motivating sets whose transformation the public is comfortable with. The projected image is swallowed by a tired public.
I will add, not to be flip here, that I think that decisions that involve people’s lives should be made with discernment by people who can think critically and discern abstractions. The problems on the bottom of the previous page work that part of the brain. It is one step to be able to solve these problems – yet another separate and desirable step to maintain “respect for life”.
Glad that G8 is over…I sound like I’m trying to manage it. The truth is, that it’s a lot of power in one place, and it makes people who are possibly subject to their influence, anxious. Wars are very hard to end, once begun.