Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Syria's Moonlight

One kind of wonders why both China and Russia are making trouble with the world on Syria:

Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has called on the international community to show "prudence" over the crisis and observe international law.

"Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa," he said in a statement.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who may have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.

Now, given our rather spotty track record when it comes to the possession of weapons of mass destruction, we might pay a little heed to the warnings both China and Russia have given. Prudence is clearly warranted and, besides, I really can’t stand being the police department to the world.

On the flip side, there’s no Scott Ritter or Hans Blik flapping their arms, trying to point out that, no, Syria does not have WMDs, and my mind wanders back to the 1990s, when we had a chance to prevent the death of 750,000 Rwandans at the hands of their own countrymen, and did nothing.

Syria as a strategic issue is a conundrum. Yes, they are a threat to Israel, particularly through their Lebanese surrogates, but it’s not like Israel hasn’t had bigger threats that they’ve faced down by themselves, with us standing behind them.

That Assad would use (assuming he has) chemical weapons against his own people means the likelihood of using them against Israel is even greater and while Israel has long expected this kind of attack, she’s never been tested the way she’d be tested by short-range missiles tipped with bioweaponry. By treaty, we’d be forced to retaliate, and by extension, so would NATO.

Sort of makes a case for Russia joining NATO but they seem content with offering some low-level assistance to that organization and nothing else.  

One would hope for a better solution to be found in Syria, and that Kerry’s speechifying and Obama’s public pondering are merely a little sabre-rattling. Another war is the last thing this nation needs, and as tired as we all are right now, a major mistake is just a button-push away.