Jim Geraghty quotes a White House official in today’s Morning Jolt email as saying this about Assad in Syria:
If he drops sarin on his own people, what’s that got to do with us?
An interesting question. An ancient rabbi framed it this way:
A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead. And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.”
Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?
We may not be called to put boots on the ground, but should we just pass by on the other side of the road? Our leaders have made a difficult place for themselves. And for us.
As The Other McCain noted earlier in the day concerning Syria’s reaction to Israeli attacks, CNN is reporting that a “top Syrian official” in “an exclusive interview” has that the Israeli attack on a military facility outside Damascus was a “declaration of war.”
Not to be too pedantic, but Israel and Syria have been in a state of war for decades. The fighting on the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 ground on into the spring of 1974, ending in a disengagement agreement. There has been no formal peace between the two countries ever since.
Tyrants would rather not go to war, especially if they can get someone else to do their dirty work. For example, Hitler and Stalin fought a proxy war in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War. J. E. Dyer takes a look at the latest proxy war, the “civil war” in Syria. On the surface it looks like the Sunnis (Turkey and the Saudis) against the Shia (Iran), but it’s more complicated. Russia, Israel, and Greece have common interests that favor neither the Sunnis nor the Shia. And America isn’t looking after our interests.
None of this would be foreordained if the US took an active role in fostering the best future for Syria. It is important for Americans to understand that the more we recuse ourselves from the conflict in Syria, the more its outcome is guaranteed to be determined by a foreign power at the expense of the Syrian people. We have just about reached the stage at which what’s going on in Syria is not a “Syrian civil war,” but a proxy war between regional powers, whose objectives will frustrate, and in some cases even defeat outright, every single one of the US interests in the Syrian crisis.
Civil war; children and old people mowed down like animals; arms and paramilitary troops flooding into the country; ruthless power struggles between corrupt despots on third-party territory – this is your world, when American power isn’t being exercised.
Read the whole thing.