Symposium 2012: Should the U.S. be involved in removing Assad from power in Syria?

RMC3: No. It’s not our problem. Is he a ruthless dictator? Yes. Has he misappropriated billions of dollars of the Syrian peoples’ money? Yes. Is he killing his own people? Yes. Do we know that the ‘freedom fighters’ are the good guys? No. Do we know that the ‘freedom fighters’ aren’t actually terrorists? No. This is the whole Libya situation all over again. At this point, he poses no clear and present danger to the United States or our allies. If the ‘freedom fighters’ aren’t able to get the job done, that’s their problem. No need for us to get involved in any additional Middle Eastern adventures.

We’ve got our own problems here at home. Let’s get our house in order first then worry about other people. Sure I feel bad for the innocent Syrian people, but I also feel bad for the innocent people in North Korea and other people under the oppressive rule of dictators who kill their own people. We’re not getting involved in those places, so why should Syria be any different? Stay away from it. This administration has done enough damage in Egypt and Libya.
Cartwright: No, no involvement in Syria. I do think it was a good move to put some troops on the Turkey-Syria border as a deterrent to it spilling over into Turkey. But we just don’t need to get drawn into this matter. There’s no strategic value for us. My main concern is that Assad gets deposed and the country gets hijacked by terrorist organizations or those sympathetic to al-Qaeda. At least we know Assad and what he’s all about. We can’t say that about the rebels. What’s the old saying about all that glitters is not gold?

Sydney: This is a very difficult question. The fact that the U.S did intervene in Libya, albeit to a limited extent as part of NATO has many people calling for it to do the same thing in Syria. However the situation in Libya was different in that China and Russia strongly oppose any UN intervention in Syria. The problem with intervening in other countries is obviously that once you intervene in one country the question will keep coming up in relation to different countries. If the U.S is to consider intervention in other nations it needs to develop certain criteria that must be fulfilled in order for it to intervene. The U.S. government has become increasingly critical of the Syrian regime and is starting to issue threats. Most people would assume that direct military attacks from navy vessels or air strikes would be involved if the U.S. decided to remove Assad. However, since there is a strong opposition force already active in Syria (often fighting in close proximity to Assad’s troops) military strikes could do as much harm as good. It might be better initially to provide assistance to the opposition by providing arms and other resources that would help them militarily. If this didn’t help then it might be worth pursuing more direct options, preferably under the auspices of NATO so the U.S. cannot be criticized in the Middle East for acting unilaterally.

Michigan: We are ostensibly involved in Syria, and I suspect that we will continue to be. We are giving the rebels aid in one form or another but are having a problem knowing which of the rebels are affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Assad has been moving his operations to the coastal mountains along with his chemical weapons. Sounds like another Afganistan to me. We have been there how long?

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