Gary Johnson didn’t know what “Aleppo” was and that might be the best position to have with Syria.
In Presidential Debate #2 (aka Garbage Fest 2016), both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton advocated for a strong US position in Syria. Bomb Assad, stop Russia, start a World War. You know, reasonable ideas.
Unfortunately for the world, all eyes remain on what stupid thing Trump will say next while the problem in Syria grows. But here is the thing, any continued action in that country that is not directly against ISIS gains the US absolutely nothing. Russia wants a naval base and a strong friend with direct access to the Mediterranean. The US wants to overthrow Assad? Stop Russian expansion? Something else?
How does an unstable Syria benefit:
- Lebanon (it doesn’t, that’s why Lebanon is helping Assad);
- Turkey (it doesn’t, that’s why Turkey is taking a more proactive role in Syria);
- Jordan (it doesn’t, that’s why Jordan’s borders are closed);
- Israel (it doesn’t, instability in the Middle-East is always blamed on the Jewish state);
- Iraq (it doesn’t, Iraq needs stability, not a weak country where ISIS can grow)
Our position and strategy in this year’s long Civil War is not clear. We have funded “moderate rebels” to attack the Syrian Arab Army (“SAA”), we have “accidentally” bombed the SAA allowing ISIS to advance at Deir ez-Zur, and we have continued to pretend that we care about civilian deaths.
Make no mistake, continued support for the rebel factions or more direct involvement only prolongs war and collateral damage. The Syrians who have not fled the country want peace and stability. They, likely, do not care where it comes from. As Ser Jorah Mormont said in Game of Thrones:
The common people pray for rain, health, and a summer that never ends. They don’t care what games the high lords play.
If Assad and Putin bring that, so be it. Syria need not be the catalyst for World War 3, this is what the US should do instead:
- Cease funding the rebel factions immediately;
- Focus funding and support on Northern Iraq and Eastern Syria against ISIS forces only;
- Provide material aid to Syrian refugees in Syria, Jordan, and Turkey (Food diplomacy);
The SAA will likely win the Civil War with Russian support. Getting thousands more killed to prove a point is not an intelligent course of action. Clinton wants all out war in Syria. Trump can’t find Syria on a map.
We need a better position. We need to demand that from our Government.