On April 14, 2018, it was announced that our country carried out a missile attack on Syrian forces in the city of Damascus. The attack was a response elicited by the use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens, yet the public eye has been quick to debate our country’s involvement on Syrian soil.
Without a doubt, action was necessary to reprimand the injustices of these chemical attacks. However, we can’t just ignore the ethical ramifications of our involvement on Syrian soil, let alone abuse the power to employ acts of war.
For a figure that has been notorious for denying refuge to millions of desperate Syrians fleeing from the violence, president Trump’s supposed humanitarian efforts leave much room for skepticism.
Avoiding a war with Syria was a major part of Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, yet his recent orders deeply conflict with his prior stance. He stated, “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton. You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?”
Indeed, teetering into war with Syria will likely result in increased tensions with powers like Russia and Iran, which are known sponsors of Al Assad’s regime.
Many of us that grew up in the wake of 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan know the hardship and pain that long conflict brought upon thousands of families in this country and in the aforementioned conflict states. Why then are we rushing headlong into yet another complicated Middle Eastern conflict in which both sides have glaring faults?
After over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of 9/11, no lasting solution was ever met and both countries were left in shambles. Worse yet, the involvement of the United States in the Middle East has also directly given rise to the region’s greatest threat: The Islamic State, which is now also an active threat to both The United States and its allies abroad.
There is a clear history of mishandling the very complicated conflicts in the Middle East, and there is no reason to believe the situation with Syria is any different. Perhaps military intervention could prove to be useful if the United States granted asylum to the thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict, but this administration has displayed nothing but complete unwillingness to do so.
Moreover, the implications this bombing has on the United States’ relations with Russia is deeply troubling. The Russian Ambassador to the United States has already made statements that seemed to signify some kind of retaliation could be on the way from the Russian government.
While Russia has been a huge humanitarian threat in recent years with the annexing of Crimea and alleged assassinations of Putin’s loudest critics, a direct conflict between two of the biggest nuclear power on Earth is certainly a bad idea. And the United States involvement in the Syrian conflict will inevitably become a proxy conflict that draws the United States and Russia closer to direct war.
This is utter hypocrisy on our country’s part and to deem this cause as “humanitarian” seems rather egotistic. Let’s not forget that our meddling in other countries like Iraq have given rise to much turmoil, to the rise of ISIS.
In reflecting on president Trump’s new position, American journalist, Glenn Greenwald, stated, “everybody knows that the U.S has supported regimes in the past that used chemical weapons. Everybody knows that the U.S. right now is supporting Israel as they slaughter journalists and peaceful.”