Is Syria Becoming a Quagmire?

Quagmire Sept 2013

Is the trouble in Syria becoming a quagmire?  I fear that it is, creating an intractable mess for the US, and for the portions of the international community who choose to engage in a fight.

At heart, I am a pacifist and want us all to choose life and beauty and freedom.  But in looking at the pictures and video from Syria, I know that these actions are uncivilized… abominable.  This is not the first time we have been confronted with atrocities.  But we – all of humanity – must firmly say, “this cannot be tolerated.”  And then we have to find a way to protect the innocent while we pursue the guilty.  Foreign relations is a tricky business.  There’s no doubt we have to tread cautiously, but we cannot turn away.

In the US, we know – and often resent – that we are the world’s policemen.  But we are less alone than we think.  I happened to be in Paris on the first anniversary of 9-11.  I wasn’t sure what to expect that day and started out early, to take a walk in the city.  The mood was quiet and somber.  I watched a candlelight procession pass by and when I revealed to others on the street that I was an American, several embraced me as if they were trying to embrace my entire nation.  I never felt LESS alone in the world.

I empathize strongly with the frustrations of many Americans, who wonder why we once again have to clean up a mess we didn’t make.  But I know that America must take a leadership role in Syria’s tragedies because the rest of the world sees that we are might.  Because we have the gravitas to draw attention in a way that no other nation can.  We’re simply the most capable, which is our mixed blessing and curse, now that we are being called to step up.

 

Adapted from an original comment on LinkedIn

photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/nsalt/3056057474

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