Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the Syrian chemical weapons decommission plan
Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Since, Noah denkt™ last commented on the plans for a punitive strike against Syria the international community has agreed on a UN based procedure according to which the Assad regime will be forced to surrender all its chemical weapons to international control. Is Noah denkt™ suprised by this turn of events?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): First of all, we have to apoligize that we haven’t addressed this earlier. Unfortuntately, we have been kept away from work due to a private matter. But, now we are back and we are happy to answer your question: Yes, we are surprised and elated by the fact that international diplomacy has finally managed to find a way out of the impasse that it was steering itself into in Syria WMD issue.
AE: Do we not have to admit in hindsight that our criticism of Western pro-strike positions was exaggerated. After all, it cannot be denied that it is due to President Obama’s insistence in this matter that the current WMD plan for Syria has been made possible?
Nd: No doubt, all parties involved in this deserve praise: President Obama for forcing the issue while staying open for a final diplomatic solution; President Putin for developing and pursuing the WMD decommissioning plan in Syria; and all of us for sticking to our realpolitik convictions even if the latter did not always seem to be popular.
AE: And yet, despite all the positive news, the killing in Syria continues!
Nd. That is true. But it would be unfair to blame the international community for this.
AE: The international community has a responsibility for the maintenance of global peace. That is why a lot of people are criticising the UN for not doing enough to stop the slaughtering in Syria.
Nd: Look, you cannot enforce peace if people do not want to live peacefully with each other.
AE: People do want to live peacefully with each other in Syria. Only the Assad regime isn’t allowing them to do so!
Nd: Well, the post-dictatorial evidence in Libya and Egypt suggests that living together peacefully once a dictatorial regime has been removed isn’t as easy as the Syrian opposition would have us believe.
AE. It is quite natural that repressed societies take time to find a new peaceful balance once the previous power structure has collapsed. That shouldn’t be an excuse however for the international community to stand by idly while the Syrians are suffering from the onslaught of a brutal dictator.
Nd: The international community is not standing by idly. It is providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees; it is applying diplomatic pressure on the Assad regime; some countries are providing weapons to the rebels; most countries are negotiating directly with representatives of the Syrian opposition; the UN Security Council continues to look for a common solution to the Syrian quagmire, and no one is unaffected by the situation in that country.
AE: This is simply not enough though.
Nd: Well, the leaders of the international community do no just have a responsibility towards the enforcement of human rights elsewhere on the planet. They also have a responsibility to not put their own citizens in harm’s way unless overwhelming evidence dictates that they should do so. And for reasons laid out previously that overwhelming evidence simply doesn’t exist in the case of Syria.
AE: Go and tell this to the poor people of Syria who are agonizing over the atrocities that have been committed against them! See for yourself whether your arguments can stand in the face of so much heart-felt pain.
Nd: We are quite aware of the fact that it is too much to ask of the Syrian people to understand our point of view here. That doesn’t mean, however, that our reasoning is wrong here. Because sometimes, and only sometimes. you do need to be somewhat removed from the immediate battlefield in order to understand what is a truly reasonable and wise move in subject environment.