On Syria

The Syrian Civil War has carried on since 2011 with seemingly zero progress. Over and over, almost cyclically, the war has gone from uncontrolled fighting, to hotly contested peace proceedings, to tenuous truce, back to fighting. However, in the time that Russia has entered into the fray in support of Bashar al-Assad, the direction of the war has seemingly grown more clear, particularly within the last few weeks. Aleppo, at one time Syria’s largest city, is growing nearer to falling to the Syrian regime. If this happens, the regime will be in control of the primary regions that it needs to be in control of – the coast and the regions in which the Ba’ath party dominates.

As the war progresses, the question of “what should the role of international entities be” becomes more prominent. I think the position many GEF’s would take would be a focus on protecting the citizens and human rights. However, I think this position is often flavored too strongly by its moral character without regard to its practicality or consequences. Take Iraq and Afghanistan, for example. Both states with similar political contexts, though the reason for intervention are different. If we invade Syria with the intention of protecting people, are we willing to take on the long term consequences of building a state? As was pointed out prior to the invasion of Iraq, “if we don’t have a plan to pick up the trash the following morning, we shouldn’t be there.” State building is a long, complicated process. I am in favor of protecting the Syrian people, but it is not difficult to argue that intervention simply makes it difficult for the nation to pursue its own destiny.

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