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Hysteria is no substitute for level-headed statesmanship
The West is apparently spiralling into a military intervention in Syria, - Comment, drafted
and published on Aug. 27, 2013
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    Military action bears risks. There are no good options to resolve the threat that Mr  Assad poses to his
    own people and the wider world. But to do nothing would be the worst one of all.
    Financial Times Editorial : The moral case for intervention in Syria, , Aug. 26, 2013


A few days after images have surfaced that show the apparent use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war,
Western powers now seem to be determined to intervene in that country’s internal conflict. The argument that
is being purported by leaders in France, Britain and the US to support a military strike in Syria is that doing
nothing in response to the illegal use of weapons of mass destruction would ultimately create more harm by way
of encouraging copycat behavior of other rogue dictators than doing something even though that “something”
continues to be ill-defined. Noah denkt™ believes that this logic is flawed because of several reasons:

  1. So far, it hasn’t been proven sufficiently that the chemical weapons used recently in Syria were indeed
    deployed by the Syrian government. After all, the forensic UN team that is currently in Syria to collect
    evidence with respect to the agents used in this attack hasn’t finalized its report yet. It can hence not be
    ruled out at this point that Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups had a hand in exploding subject chemical devices
    in order to stir public opinion in the West.
  2. As unpredictable as rogue dictators may be there is one thing they tend to have in common which is a
    pretty sharp sense of survival (at least up until the point of no return). It is hence naive to believe that hard-
    knuckled power wielders would simply follow the blueprint of other people’s behavior when trying to pursue
    their own goals. Much rather can we be certain that they are shrewed enough to understand that every
    conflict scenario has its own individual characteristics and that one lack of Western response here may not
    necessarily entail another lack of response under different circumstances. In other words, Western
    hesitation to intervene in the Syrian conflict has nothing to with a lack of resolve to defend international law
    (witness prior interventions in Kosovo, Libya, Mali etc..) but it has everything to do with the difficulty to
    reach a satisfactory outcome once the decision to intervene has been taken.
  3. If the copycat argument has any relevance in this context at all, it would apply much rather to the disastrous
    consequences of a failed “punishment” rather than to the absence of it. After all, the possibility that a
    Western intervention in Syria might produce next to no tangible results is very real given that Western
    powers have already made it clear that they are not willing to commit ground forces to that operation. It is a
    very open question though what kind of damage air strikes could possibly do to Assad’s capability to wreak
    havoc in his country.
  4. If the need to intervene were as overwhelming as the Financial Times and others have us believe the
    international community would be way more united in this matter than it actually is at this point. As much as
    it can be argued that Russia and China do not have a great stake in the defense of human rights, it is also
    clear that none of the two countries has an interest to accept a lowering of the threshold for the use of
    weapons of mass destruction. In other words, if the current Syrian case were undisputed and outrageous
    enough to unite the world behind a desire to intervene in subject theater than we could truly argue that it
    would be worse to do nothing than to do something. Obviously, we recognize that this latter argument is a
    pretty cold-blooded one. But unfortunately these are the categories that responsible statesmen have to do
    apply when complying with their leadership obligation. And that is true even if an emotional public opinion
    would have them do otherwise.  
  5. Finally, it really is pretty irresponsible to do something when that something hasn’t been thought through in
    a calm and collected manner. Because the sad realty with respect to a possible intervention in Syria is that
    we, the West and in deed the international community have no political plan as to how to pacify that
    country once the Assad regime has been removed; have no military strategy as to how to intervene in
    Syria; and we also have no unequivocal legal basis for that intervention, given the absence of a UN
    security council resolution to that effect and given that regime change does in deed require a substantial
    threat to the entire population in Syria.

Conclusion: Under the above mentioned circumstances it is actually quite appalling that elected leaders in Britain
and
France prefer to act out of impulse rather than out of cold analysis. This kind of statesmanship can at best
can be describes as mediocre. The citizens of the aforementioned countries deserve better than that.
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Keywords:

military intervention in Syria, spiralling into an intervention in Syria, Realpolitik in Syria, the case against an
intervention in Syria, flaws in the case for an intervention in Syria, irresponsible calls for an intervention in Syria,
mediocre statesmanship encourages an intervention in Syria, true statesmanship needs to be cold-blooded
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