A big decision day is coming for the President of the United States of America. Outraged by the chemical weapon the Syrian government most probably used last week on civilians, and pressured by calls requesting immediate actions, President Obama faces a critical dilemma: should America use military force in Syria, or stay away as much as possible? The day UN investigators confirms the chemical attack he has to make up his mind, weighing all pro’s and con’s. President Obama’s decision will not only affect the current situation in Syria and the Middle East, but might change world history.
Americans don’t want to be involved in another military conflict. According to the last poll taken by Reuters, around 60 percent of Americans are against intervening in the civil war going on in Syria, and only 25 percent will support the decision to intervene if the use of chemicals by the Syrian government is confirmed.
There are plenty of reasons why Americans don’t want to be involved, and bad memories are not the last of them. Horrors of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq are clouding the collective past and present minds of Americans. The most recent war in Iraq – is still an open wound. It looked like an “easy victory” at the beginning, but turned into a nightmare taking thousands of American lives, building up staggering financial losses and adding to the weight of the economic crisis.
Talk about nightmares, Osama Bin Laden was one of them, along with current leaders of the Al-Qaeda and various terrorists America is fighting. Where did they all come from? They rose in the field camps of Afghan mujahedeens, strongly backed by American military and money in their war against Soviet invaders in 1980’s.
Soviets committed a serious crime sending troops to Afghanistan, but it doesn’t change the outcome – leaders of world terrorism, considered main enemies of the USA, were once strongly supported by America.
If bad memories deal with the past, the current situation in the Middle East threatens not only the present, but the future as well. Syria has very strong allies such as Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. According to The Associated Press, Syria has already stated that any involvement of the USA will “create a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East.” Iran backed up the Syrian government promising “severe consequences” if America intervenes. Those might not be just words. Things are already getting hot in Lebanon with everyday explosions in Beirut and Tripoli. And with the Middle East on fire, oil prices will skyrocket reminding everybody about the “oil shock” of 1970’s and turn an already fragile world economy into a state of total chaos. Are Americans ready to pay $10 for a gallon of gas?
All of this is in Obama’s head right now. He can follow the American public opinion and wait for the UN Security Counsel to make a decision which, by a way, will be vetoed by Russia. Most Americans won’t blame him … for now. But remember the Suez Canal crisis?
It was in 1956 when Egypt annexed the Suez Canal and outraged Britain and France. With the help of Israel, they sent troops to take it back. Military wise, the operation was close to perfect, but war is more than military operations. Due to a financial crisis and need for a loan from the IMF, Britain had to bend its will and withdrew all troops from the Suez Canal. It looked like the Soviet Union forced them to back away, when in fact America, controlling IMF funds, insisted on a withdrawal. To Britain, it cost more than the Suez Canal itself, but it cost them face. And with the face, in the blink of an eye, Great Britain lost the major influence it had for centuries on world politics. America became a superpower along with the Soviet Union, excluding Britain and France from the major league of world superpowers.
Does America face its own Suez Canal today? It somehow looks that way. The situation is different of course, but politics is politics and weakness is counted as an unforgivable sin now, as in times past, especially by tyrannical leaders. Only a year ago, President Obama warned the Syrian government not to cross the “red line” using chemical weapons. Somebody did, and though it’s not confirmed yet, most experts agree that the Syrian government used it. If so, they didn’t give a damn.
Likely, President Obama will wait for the UN Investigators to finish their report. He might as well wait for Congress approval if he decides to strike Syria with the missiles. But in any case, the day he has to announce his decision will be critical. If you are weak or look as such, you always pay a price, and the price for non-action might be political retirement of the USA as a last world superpower.
By Alsu Salakhutdinov