US foreign policy in Syria

In the following Wall Street Journal interview/video editorial, Fouad Ajami is highly critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria.  He asserts, among other thins, that Obama is neither loved nor feared in the Middle East.  If you were president, would you advocate greater US intervention in Syria?  Should we have armed the Syrian rebels?  Should we arm them now that the rebellion has apparently been radicalized?  What if it was confirmed that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons?


11 responses to “US foreign policy in Syria”

  1. benjamin1 says :

    It really makes no difference what kind of weapons are being used, what matters is that unfathomable numbers of people have died. I will not attempt to provide an educated opinion on how the US should act in such a complicated foreign policy situation-i obviously think something should be done to stop the bloodshed-but for our government to dance around “red lines” and details like what kinds of weapons are being used, is a pathetically indecisive foreign policy.

  2. sophiae7 says :

    Possible US intervention in Syria is an extremely complex issue. I think one of the main problems is that there is no clear direction of where greater US intervention would lead. There is no end in sight at this moment and I think the US needs to do better on not intervening with all world conflicts because as we know that is not always the best way to go. But I don’t believe the US should totally ignore what is going on in Syria either. Right now I think we are taking the best approach possible, which is supporting other countries, like Israel, with their interventions in Syria. This is still showing the world and Syria that we are aware of the extreme circumstances while also showing the world that we aren’t going to intervene with every crisis.

  3. robhrabchak4 says :

    Outside of the humanitarian issues, I don’t see any compelling reason for us to get involved in the situation. In assessing the humanitarian conditions, we must decide at what point it is appropriate for us to step in. But under all circumstances, we must firmly stick to our values. Sometimes they may not be so clear, but when Obama spoke of a “red line” he defined our values unambiguously and now I think we have no choice but to fully stand by them. Whether it was a mistake to publicly draw that line is a separate matter, but at this point we must show that we will follow through on the things that we say.

  4. Kunaal7 says :

    With reports of sarin, a chemical weapon used in Syria, many policy advisors are either calling for U.S. military intervention or providing help to Syrian opposition with lethal weapons. The direct and successful strikes against the Assad’s would only provoke an even nastier conflict with different ethnic religious groups. Besides, the military action would be a decade long sectarian war as in Afghanistan and history has shown us that it will not bring any good to U.S. or Syria. Currently, some countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea and China are providing weapons and military technology to the Assad regime. I feel U.S. should put pressure on the international community and use economic leverage to put sanctions around the arms and money flowing to rouge regime. We need to force Russia and China to work with U.S. government to put heavy sanctions against Syria.

  5. sarahb7 says :

    I don’t think it makes a difference whether or not chemical weapons were used. Either way, there is a humanitarian issue at hand in Syria; a terrible number of people are being killed, but does it really matter whether they’re killed with a gun or with a chemical weapon? As horrific as the situation is, however, the US can’t keep getting involved in every country human rights are being violated in. We simply don’t have the resources. Where do we draw the line? There is no direct benefit to our country if we step in, and like Mary Kissel pointed out, we are not loved or feared in Syria. This noncommittal foreign policy by Obama is simply not effective.

  6. BenLev4 says :

    President Obama created a line, and if it was crossed, consequences would ensue. The use of chemical weapons violates President Obama’s ultimatum, and now it is time for him to act on his word. I cannot begin to be able to comprehend nor analyze the correct way of punishing Syria- whether it be sanctions, arming the revolutionaries, or deploying troops- the situation is just too complex. Regardless, President Obama must fulfill his promise. Not doing so makes a mockery out of the President, and devalues his statements in the future. It’s like when a parent says they will punish you if you do something, you do it, and there is no punishment. It perpetuates that kind of behavior. Unfortunately, Syria “called” Obama on his statement, and now he must carry out the consequences. Whether or not he should have issued such a ultimatum in the first place is a very interesting question.

  7. Ryan4 says :

    I agree with Ben. Although it isn’t the role of the United States to play the roll of the international watchdog ALL THE TIME, a line was crossed that Obama had previously put into place, something that requires an immediate response. With the use of Sarin, there is promise of use of chemical weapons, and Obama must intervene. For others who were upset by these actions, they should focus on the conditions in which we intervene over seas. Whether it be for economic gain or humanitarian interest, for future references, we should begin to be more conservative with our standards of abuse.

  8. mattgiannottione says :

    It seems to me that we as a country are too late to help arm the rebels. The United States should not be putting weapons into the hands of Jihadists in the Middle East. We just fought two wars trying to neutralize religious extremists. If we were to send in military aid in the form of troops, what would stop the rebels from turning their guns on us? Though we are not feared nor loved, this situation could be incredibly effective should we choose to attempt reshaping our image in Syria and the Middle East. Should we send in humanitarian aid, we could adopt a motherly identity. Should we send in the Air Force and turn Assad’s military and palace into dust, we may become feared in the eyes of the Middle Eastern countries. Personally, I think if it is proved that Assad was using chemical weapons on civilians, the United States should send in strategical bombers to cripple the Syrian air force and defenses, giving the rebels a much better shot.

  9. bump7 says :

    Either way you look at it people are dying whether it be by chemical use or other weapons. However the US and Obama need to pick and choose the battles they fight. With the issues we are already facing in the Middle East we simply do not have the resources to intervene in Syria. Although there is a humanitarian issue when dealing with this I do not feel that our country has the ability to step in and give Syria our full attention at this moment, but Obama should continue to look for different ways in which he can give some sort of small support to the rebels in the country.

  10. Langston4 says :

    Although I do not believe the U.S. should act as an international police force in anyway (i.e. intervening in every conflict), I believe that Congress should consider very seriously intervening in Syria. With the reports of Sarin being used, chemical warfare is now evident. As Ben said, Obama has already made promises surrounding the use of chemical weapons in his foreign policy agenda, and now is the time for him to honor those statements. If not, I think it will look weak on the presidency.

  11. jenchen1 says :

    I don’t think the priority is the image of the president as much is the logic in his policy. I don’t know anything about Syria that would allow me to give an opinion on how the US should act, but I do have to say I’m putting a tremendous amount of faith in the government. I don’t think the US needs to uphold the “red line” just for image’s sake. It’s difficult to create a divide in which policy immediately changes. There’s always a blur, especially in war. No matter how clear it might seem, there’s risk to every hasty action. I think it’s best if the US stays conservative about their foreign policy.

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