“America may think it does not have any interests in Syria, but it has interests everywhere the Syrian conflict touched.”
As regrettable as the Syrian conflict is with its loss of 70,000 Syrian lives, the United States has no national interest in intervening in the conflict. That mantra of “national self interest” is heard repeatedly by the majority of media pundits as represented by such well known figures as Ted Koppel and foreign policy professionals such as Robert E. Hunter who advise the Obama administration to refuse to get involved in the Syrian conflict in any way beyond its role as a provider of humanitarian aid and of diplomatic posturing. Well Vali Nasr, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University is also able to discuss America’s self interest. And he believes that it is in America’s national self interest to aid the Syrian people in their struggle against the Assad regime. I think he has the more credible position.
The Dangerous Price of Ignoring Syria
By: Vali Nasr
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The International Herald Tribune.
President Obama has doggedly resisted American involvement in Syria. The killing of over 70,000 people and the plight of over a million refugees have elicited sympathy from the White House but not much more. That is because Syria challenges a central aim of Obama’s foreign policy: shrinking the U.S. footprint in the Middle East and downplaying the region’s importance to global politics. Doing more on Syria would reverse the U.S. retreat from the region.
Since the beginning of Obama’s first term, the administration’s stance as events unfolded in the Middle East has been wholly reactive. This “lean back and wait” approach has squandered precious opportunity to influence the course of events in the Middle East. Click here to continue.