Home  > Historical Perspectives
Pathetic excuses for inaction on Syria (NEW YORK POST OP-ED) AMIR TAHERI 06/09/12)Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/pathetic_excuses_for_inaction_on_fBN0XvIJtVg2cWeG48ptSP NEW YORK POST NEW YORK POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
While Bashar al-Assad’s henchmen continue daily massacres, the debate on Syria is being pushed onto three wrong trajectories.

The first is the assertion that Western democracies can’t move against Assad because Russia and China block action with their vetoes at the UN Security Council.

The second is the so-called peace plan named after former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. “We are all united in support of the Annan plan,” President Obama asserts.

The third, and more recent, distraction consists of the “expert” opinion that Western democracies have no interest to see Assad brought down only to see him replaced by an even more brutal and anti- West Islamist regime.

Yes, Russia and to a lesser extent China have played a devious hand on Syria in the name of Realpolitik. In fact, I have little doubt that, far from securing their national interests, Russia and China will end up as losers over Syria.

That, however, is their business. What matters to us is that we shouldn’t let the Russian/Chinese veto freeze us out of all action in support of the Syrian people.

It’s just one factor in a complex situation. It means the United Nations is unable to act as an organization;it doesn’t mean that UN members are also denied the right to act, either individually or through coalitions of the willing.

The history of the past six decades, since the UN was born, is full of instances of individual members acting on their own to topple regimes responsible for intolerable situations.

Vietnam intervened in Cambodia to end the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror; Tanzania sent its army to Uganda to topple Idi Amin and his cannibalistic cabal. US intervention in Grenada stopped a terrorist regime in its tracks; French intervention in Ivory Coast and British intervention in Sierra Leone ended conflicts that had claimed thousands of lives.

Coalitions of the willing, led by the United States, intervened to end the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to enable Kosovo to become independent and to change the regime in Serbia. And in 2003 a US-led coalition liberated Iraq by overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

Russia and China have themselves intervened outside the UN framework. Moscow had no qualms about ignoring the UN when it sent Soviet tanks to crush popular uprisings in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Nor when it invaded China and annexed large chunks of Chinese territory along the Usuri River. More recently, Russia wasn’t bothered about the Security Council when it invaded Georgia to annex South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

As for China, it didn’t think of the UN charter when it invaded India to snatch away a large swath of Ladkah. More recently, China has shown little concern for international law with a new aggressive policy aimed at snatching atolls and islands that belong to its neighbors.

The fake Russian-Chinese concern for international law shouldn’t be a veto on a key aspect of US foreign policy. If America and its allies conclude that they should act on Syria, they should do so regardless of what Russia and China might say. (And if the US & Co. opt against action, they shouldn’t blame the Russian/Chinese veto for their own passivity.)

The Annan peace plan, of course, was doomed from the start. It was built on the false assumption that the Assad regime, a rogue state that for half a century had sponsored terrorism, wanted a peaceful solution.

The claim that Western intervention could produce another Islamist and anti-West regime is equally hard to sustain. There are Islamists among the Syrian opposition. But should legitimate concerns about Islamism persuade us to do nothing to stop Assad’s killing machine?

In any case, the most virulent Islamist forces opposed to America and the West in general happen to be allies of Assad. They include the Khomeinist regime in Tehran and its Hezbollah terror network in Lebanon.

The United States should take the lead in putting together a coalition of the willing o help the Syrian people achieve regime change. Syria can be saved. And it must. (Copyright 2012 NYP Holdings, Inc. 06/09/12)


Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY