Tonight, President Obama is going to defend his policy, and rightfully so. At least he was open and honest to us about his intentions. With NATO assuming responsibility of the no-fly zone today and France sending even more jets not associated with NATO, it is clear that we won’t have much military obligation in Libya. However, it seems as though a much broader fight has begun to materialize, one that the United States has wanted to happen since the Cold War.
Democracy hasn’t been “attainable” for anyone in the Middle East for the entirety of history. As soon as Tunisia made it look so easy, followed by Egypt, now Libya, technologies of today opened the eyes of the rest of the region to the possibility of democracy (I
hate still won’t admit that Glenn Beck was right). Their revolutions are reminiscent of the French and American revolutions; the only difference is there are nations that have gone through those revolutions and progressed afterwards, and those nations can lend a significant, helping hand (that and technological advancement).
After one country saw success, not surprisingly, it was a mobilizing force for the rest of the people in neighboring countries. So now, other nations are fighting for their freedoms as well: Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran(?). What will our response be? What’s worse about it, is that again, the Syrian government’s response has been to turn their guns on the people. If we are intervening in Libya because of democratic ideals, then those same ideals warrant intervention in Syria, as well.
Sadly, I don’t think the United States will do anything. The only reason I say that is because Fox News, specifically Hannity, has been preempting that action with rhetoric. Almost as soon as we took action in Libya, Hannity was warning of a “slippery slope”. Which of course makes me question his message. So, do I think we should step in for the Syrian people as well? Absolutely. No question about it. Should we do it alone? Absolutely not. That is going to be Obama’s toughest challenge of his first term. Again, though, we have a moral obligation to intervene in Syria.
How could we possibly do that though? First of all, we should be making Israel intervene. We have a boat-load of military factions in Israel, not to mention the Israeli military owes us everything. That action would at least show to the young nations (because that is the likely outcome of these revolutions) that democratic states, regardless of their history, help each other. If Israel helps facilitate the rebel factions in these Middle Eastern countries, that can only help to reverse the disgusting reputation Israel has. Moreover, it would work to reverse the United States’ ugly reputation in the eyes of Middle Easterners, because let’s be honest, they’re not too happy about our relationship with Israel.
Secondly, European nations also have to echo our call for intervention in the name of democratic ideals. So far, they have in Libya. Which makes Syria just as much their problem as ours. Apart from mirroring the military tactics deployed in Libya, the international community should put pressure on these oppressive governments. Economic sanctions would be one way of applying pressure, apart from sheer political pressure and diplomacy.
Where are the United States’ current security threats manifesting themselves? The Middle East. From terrorism to despotism, the Middle Eastern governments are the equivalent of the 18th century monarchies that we fought to free ourselves from. Where would our nation be without the help of the French during the American Revolution? What will the future look like if terrorism is no longer an international threat? Failed states are hotbeds for terrorism. There is very little regulation or oversight, allowing elusivity for terrorist cells to operate uninhibited. What will the people’s response be if we protect them in their fight against oppression? Do you think they’ll be hostile towards us? I would venture to guess not.
What I find ironic about the uprising in Middle Eastern countries are the reasons for their revolts. The people are demanding that the gap between rich and poor be lessened. They’re upset with the ruling class having total control of the government and in turn, the economy. The United States is supposedly the archetype of democracy, yet our own nation is feeling those same effects. I guess what I’m saying is that in my view, these Middle Eastern countries are seemingly more democratic than the American public. They recognize the issues threatening their nation’s well being, and they are acting. Should this be motivation for the American public? Or would the guns be turned on us too?
When we went to war in Iraq, originally, the one thing that the American people seemed to find solace in was the fact that democracy was being promoted. The only problem with the Bush administration’s doctrine (well not the only problem) in the spread of democracy was their hasty actions. It was like they were trying to force-feed it to Middle Eastern nations. Now, however, it is the people of these nations that are initiating this paradigm shift, NOT the pseudo-exceptionalism of the United States and its capitalistic agenda. Progression of international order is being served to us on a silver platter, and we can’t turn a blind eye to it.