Steve Schippert's presence on the innernets has been minimal as he commits to spending more time, rightly, with his family but he surfaced last night on Facebook (and in email) with these thoughts on Syria:
So friends are asking me what I think about Syria. I try not to, to be honest. But with the recent gassing and subsequent saber-rattling, maybe a friend or two could use a bit of clarity. For whatever it is or isn't worth, here's what I think. Since you asked.
Civil wars and revolutions are won by the armed and most willing to commit brutal violence in order to achieve a victory. Rarely are the liberty-seeking demonstrators we and our press romanticize about among them. Witness Egypt, where peaceful liberty-seeking demonstrators took vigil in the square in Cairo only to see the Muslim Brotherhood seize their advantage and begin to roll out simply a different dictatorship.
In Syria, the dictator Bashar Assad is exponentially more ruthless and brutal than Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak ever was. So too is the opposition in Syria, which is largely devoid of peaceful demonstrators pining for democracy. In Egypt, such peaceful demonstrators stood between the old dictator (Mubarak) and the new (the Muslim Brotherhood). In Syria, it’s simply bloody civil war, and the opposition is laced with al-Qaeda-type terrorist organizations with both individual and collective goals.
In short, what I am saying is that America – as the leader of the Free World – has no dog in this fight. Whichever side wins, individual Liberty loses. We Americans with our own revolutionary history wrongly presume that revolutions intrinsically and naturally have equal parts good guys and bad guys, liberty-seekers and oppressors. Sure, the opposition in Syria seeks to liberate itself from the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, essentially Iran’s toad boy. But once it ‘liberates’ itself from Bashar Assad, what does it embrace? I suggest to you that the victor emerges equal parts chaos and Caliphate and nowhere to be found is the individual liberty we Americans ignorantly presume is the aim.
So what’s my take on Syria, my friends ask? It’s Red on Red, and bad things will happen, horrific things will happen. And we’re neither in charge nor in a position to physically assert ourselves into this situation intelligently with any clear aim or mission. Who do we strike? Do we strike the bad guys (Assad) for using chemical weapons on his own population in the midst of revolution? Or do we strike the bad guys (terrorist groups in the opposition) because they are, well, terrorists seeking a state apparatus?
And our president, befuddled and largely disinterested in foreign policy, makes clumsy remarks about “red lines” that get modified as they are ignored until the whole world laughs. That’s no reason to strike bad guys, which helps the other bad guys. And it’s no foreign policy. So sit still, keep quiet, and let Red on Red play out.
I know that doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s the truth. And it’s what the president’s smart advisors have probably been pleading with him to do at every turn. The problem is our president is a talker, and he can’t keep his mouth shut. And the Office of the President of the United States ultimately must cash or cancel the checks written by the mouth of the office holder, no matter who that is.
I agree with Steve. There are no American interests at stake in Syria so no American blood should be shed in this fight nor should any American assets be engaged.