While all the hubbub in Washington is now centered on unnecessary partisan squabbles over debt and deficit and the Affordable Care Act, something much more profound and long lasting has taken place on the international stage. The chemical weapons use in Syria prompted Obama’s security team to react with a threat of military action in order to stop further use of these weapons against an innocent populace.
Obama could have acted unilaterally but chose to go to congress, the public, and the international community to bring them all into the decision making process. As a result, more information regarding the makeup of the rebel forces in Syria was disturbing. They are disjointed, without strong leadership and are being infiltrated by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
While the arguments in Congress, the UN, and mostly the press, was going on, Obama apparently met secretly with Russia’s Putin during the economic summit and forged a strategy that would not only solve the immediate problem with chemical weapons but raise the issues to the international level. This is most significant since all nations are affected by terrorists and their willingness to use any and all forms of weaponry to cause havoc around the world.
To do this, Obama recognized Russia as the major player since they have been friends and supporters of the Syrian regime while the U.S. and some allies were supporting the rebels. Putin was also concerned about the chemical weapons since they could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda so was ready to seek a solution. Obama brilliantly offered the lead role to Putin which he accepted and brought Syria’s Assad into an agreement to let the UN come in and ultimately destroy his cache of chemical weapons and also agree to sign the international agreements banning them.
This single act solved the immediate problem of whether or not to launch a military strike, the aftermath of which no one had the slightest idea but would surely involve more military actions nobody wants now or ever again except our warmongering military-industrial complex.
The most important outcome is that the international community, through the UN, has been challenged to step up and accept responsibility for enforcing international agreements and the United States is finally willing to let them do it so we don’t have to “do it alone” at our costs in money, lives, and erosion of trust that unwinnable wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have caused.
These events have long range significance for world peace through diplomacy over knee jerk military reactions. Even the new regime in Iran has responded with offers to discuss their nuclear ambitions with us in order to restore their place in the world community. Mark this historical event no matter how it turns out. But for now, be thankful we are not in a shooting war. — Lee Purrier, Park Rapids