Peace talks over the Syrian conflict might appear to offer hope for a near end to the bloody civil war, but so far little progress has been made. It would appear that there is much work still to be done before peace can reign in the country. Though it is unlikely to happen, it might be best for the United States to leave the whole Syrian topic alone.
To be sure, the Syrian people deserve peace, but the conflict is such that the line between friend and foe can be blurred. If the peace talks are not successful, it would be in the United States’ best interests to leave Syria alone completely. Involvement in another nation’s affairs always comes with the risk of getting pulled into a larger conflict.
Unfortunately, the peace talks have been relatively unsuccessful so far. For one thing, there appears to be some disagreement between the United States and Russian diplomats. While certainly not overtly hostile, the relationship between Russia and the United States has been fairly chilly lately. The situation with Syria is one of several that has created a bit of a rift between the two countries. The Edward Snowden debacle and the unrest in the Ukraine have also added fuel to this fire.
Should the Syrian conflict continue, any direct involvement by the United States risks driving a wedge even further between the U.S. and Russia. Though the violence in Syria is deplorable, one must ask if it worth risking an escalation in conflict.
Giving arms to the Syrian rebels has its drawbacks as well. There has been speculation as to the identity and motives of the various rebel groups in Syria. Indeed a New York Times article from 2012 suggested that one group was linked to Al Qaeda. While it might well be that not all the rebels are extremists, providing aid in terms of military hardware or weapons carries the risk of unintended consequences.
Unfortunately, according to a late January Reuters article, at least some arms are already being given to the rebels. While these particular rebels are apparently not extremist, there is still a risk of the weapons getting into the wrong hands.
Humanitarian aid is far more appropriate. It has been estimated that about nine million Syrians require some sort of aid. While help is clearly needed desperately, it might be better for Americans if this aid was delivered in some way other than by the government. After all, the United States has a slew of issues on the home-front, including a serious debt problem. The economic realities will eventually catch up with the U.S. The best way the United States government can do its part to help the refugee crisis is to promote a speedy end to the conflict. Unfortunately, giving weapons to one of the opposing sides does not exactly help find a solution to the fighting.
America’s history in the century or so should give abundant evidence as to the danger of getting involved in the conflicts of other nations. Even if help is well-intentioned, international relations can be rather complex and explosive.
The U.S. has already inserted itself into the Syrian war, albeit indirectly. However, it is not too late to pull back from the chaotic situation. Should the negotiations continue to be unfruitful, the United States ought to wash its hands of things and only provide humanitarian assistance at most. As far is giving weapons or direct intervention, Syria (and the rest of the world) is best left alone.
Editorial By Zach Kirkman
The New York Times