Thursday, September 27, 2012

that's the best they got?

max boot and michael doran lay out their five reasons to intervene in syria. three of the reasons i think they have backwards, intervention will make the problem they identify worse, not better,1 and one of the reasons is pretty debatable2

the only one i can really agree with is reason #4, intervention probably would improve ties with both turkey and qatar, at least initially. but so what? our relations with those two countries are already pretty good. sure, they are criticizing us on this one issue, but otherwise both countries are already pretty friendly. making already friendly countries even more friendly is not a good reason for a military intervention.


1- re: reason #2 intervention would not stop the conflict from spreading any more than intervention in libya did not stop the conflict from spreading to mali. re: #3 training and equipping syrian rebels would also not "create a bulwark against extremist groups like Al Qaeda"--intensified conflict is where groups like al qaeda thrive--see iraq, libya, syria, pakistan, afghanistan, mali. re: #5, foreign intervention has historically increased, not decreased human rights disasters and refugee crises, see iraq, libya, most of latin america during the cold war, much of africa during the cold war, southeast asia during the cold war, etc.

2- re: reason #1, it's not clear that iran's influence would be diminished if the u.s. intervenes. iranian influence increased due to american intervention in iraq, afghanistan, and lebanon. while you can argue that wouldn't happen in syria because it is a sunni-dominated country, the same can be said about afghanistan.. the important thing to remember is that just because the u.s. intervenes that doesn't mean the intervention is going to put into power people who share american iranian policy.