Reflections on Morality, Syria, Foreign Policy, and Miley Cyrus

Imagine for a moment that you found out your neighbor is attacking his whole family, including his children, with poisonous gas. One's moral fiber instinctively tells us the right thing — inform the authorities and, if possible, personally do what you can to intervene and even take up arms in order to put a stop to the unforgivable acts being committed next door. To do nothing is a sin of omission. To do nothing is isolationist. Doing nothing will allow innocent children to die next door.

Victims of gas attack in Syria (source)

That is somehow an analogy to a very appealing case for interventionist foreign policy. With pictures of innocent children becoming collateral damage to chemical attacks in Syria, our instincts tell us that the moral position is for us to ask the US, not even the United Nations, to continue to be the police of the world and intervene against these atrocities. And don't get me wrong, my heart breaks for the innocent who get caught up in these wars and I condemn these violent acts regardless of whose side I think is right. It's occurrences like this that make me wish there really is a hell where those responsible will suffer and justice will be served.

The neoconservatives, and now even democrats like John Kerry (and many seem to find it agreeable when democrats want to go to war yet go wild when republicans like Bush push for it), label the non-interventionists as simply isolationists and argue that intervention is a moral obligation. I say we keep an open mind, step back, and try to see what position is truly being simplistic.

Unfortunately, the States in the Middle East is not easily comparable to your neighbors and it's actually more complex than that. For a breather, may I remind you that Saddam gassing his own people, aside from the imaginary weapons of mass destruction, was used as a pretext for war. And I'm sure many of you share the same sentiment with me when it comes to the war in Iraq. And with Saddam once being a close friend of the US and being given foreign aid, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to do the math: interventionist policy from the very beginning leads to unintended consequences and blowback.

Here's a quick crash course that could give you an idea on the complexity of the entangling alliances and conflicts that US have with the Middle East:

Seems comedic, huh? Well, this satirical take on the topic is not all about jokes. Here's a diagram posted on the Washington Post (source) regarding a similar interpretation:

(click to enlarge; MB is Muslim Brotherhood)

I have written somewhat extensively on this topic before (see History, Dictators, and Blowback) and more recently after watching the film Argo (see Argo 2012 Film and Foreign Policy). Iran is an enormous evidence to the dangers of blowback. So is the bombing of Kosovo under the administration of Clinton. I just want to point out that this is not a partisan or political issue. It is a moral issue.

The best question to ask would be, what is the guarantee that safety and security will be restored if US soldiers intervene and then eventually occupy Syria? What effects would it have to the whole of Middle East? Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky makes a good case as he explains why foreign aid and sending weapons to Syria only makes things worse (what more going to war):

His father makes the same compelling argument when he talks about how the US government sent foreign aid to Mubarak for 30 years only for them to send aid to those who opposed him during the revolts. And up to now, the blowback is felt in Egypt with Sisi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and continued civil unrest. Here's the video:

The US founding fathers were right when they warned against being involved with entangling alliances. They encouraged the US to befriend nations and to engage in free trade.

I am not necessarily saying that we do nothing. I am merely pointing out that it is not as simple as marching there and killing bad people and then leaving. Korea and Vietnam are historical evidence on how useless these endless wars are where no one really wins. The same with Afghanistan and Iraq where the US seems to have no plan of marching out ever. In fact, I believe strongly, that more innocent children will die if the US gets involved and even more hostility will arise in the Middle East creating more of the unintended consequences I've been trying to point out.

Meanwhile, we have Miley Cyrus flooding our social media pages and very few recognize the gravity of the situation in Syria. 

This is not a conspiratorial ploy by the media at all. This is classic supply and demand. This is what the people want. And here I am trying to figure out how I can go around the appeal to emotion of the recent events in order to make a case against US intervention in Syria.

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