A Curious Bystander

Megan Chrisler, Features Editor

Syria is a topic that’s almost impossible to escape, forcing me to write about it again. President Barack Obama has requested Congress’s approval for military intervention; at the time of this writing he has not been granted it, but he probably will despite the divisive debates going on in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of the House Armed Services Committee, a committee that has been working closely with Obama to analyze the situation, said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that the U.S. cannot afford to be involved with the situation; in fact, the military doesn’t even have the proper assets to execute a successful intervention. When called out for his support of the Bush-era interventions in Iran and Iraq, he said that America had a healthy military at the time (perhaps Obama’s unhelpful stance towards the military during this year’s budget troubles will backfire?).

It comes down to two things that I’ve been saying all along: America can’t afford anything and it is approaching its end as a world super power. How can our debt handle yet another war, and how can one nation be responsible for the world’s problems?

On the other hand, Obama has little choice. Something must be done about chemical attacks on innocent civilians, and Russia and the global community are progressing too slow, as usual. Russia has come up with a plan to take chemical weapons away from Bashar al-Assad, but experts say it may be difficult to execute. Obama’s credibility is on the line, and perhaps, in this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry (remember, the world has favored quick action after the results of World War II).

And Syria, like Egypt, is also about Israel. CNN’s Jim Clancy actually reported on the stakes Israel has in Syria’s conflict, saying that they have already begun handing out gas masks. A poll shows that Israel generally supports American involvement and fears its own forced participation. If nothing else, the U.S. will not leave Israel in an even semi-risky position.

That would mean being involved with not just Syria, but the whole Middle East. Our more passive stance towards Egypt, however, indicates that Obama is probably just responding to a legal issue in this case. It’s not against international law to start a civil war, but it’s definitely illegal to use chemical weapons. It’s like being a parent; if you set down a rule, you have to follow through with the discipline if it’s broken, and the U.N. isn’t going to do anything anytime soon.