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Syria: Obama and Putin’s UN Speeches [ Juan Cole / Informed Comment ]

September 30, 2015

Juan Cole reviews Obama and Putin’s U.N. speeches, vis-a-vis Syria, critiquing the positions of both.


My 2 cents:

As I said elsewhere, the US should not get involved. At all. We may have an obligation to do so, but we have already made enough enemies in the middle east, and the foreign policy organizations within our government still have not passed their “road test” when it comes to helping chaotic places transition into functioning governments. They are most definitely not allowed to drive this type of vehicle yet (i.e., not ready for a leadership role in a peacemaking or nation-building effort).

No disagreement that Assad is an evil leader, but the same argument was made in Iraq and Libya and the result was to make things worse. R2P was a nice idea but that experiment is over for now, and should not be repeated until bodies of international justice become established enough that the both the “R” and the “P” have some meaning. I.e., the enforcers of the rules would have to submit to a set of rules which is impartial. Until then, don’t make things worse.

My suggestion:

Let Assad and Iran and Russia do the fighting until IS accepts a cease fire. Accept the possibility of balkanization. Then U.N. peacekeepers to keep ethnic cleansing to a manageable level, make sure it happens non-violently, and reparations are paid to anyone forced to resettle due to new lines drawn on the map on a sectarian or ethnic basis.

U.S. role limited to no-strings-attached financial support for the anti-IS forces at first, and then the U.N. peacekeepers. Do not send US personnel or weapons. Do not allow US intelligence services or diplomats to get involved in managing the situation.


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