Strange as it may seem, the Czar is inclined to agree today with both Libertarians and Democrats alike, and confess something that many Republican conservatives probably also feel. We need, for as long as possible, to stay the hell out of Syria.
Call it a lesson learned. But when the Czar read this morning that 10 children were killed by a bomb—revolters say it was the government; doubtless the government will blame the revolters—he realized that this is a lesson that goes back to Alexandrian times: there is almost never a good party to back in that part of the world.
When you read that possibly Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi cutting a deal with no less than al-Qāʿidah in order to free up weapons to send to the revolters in Syria, you realize how screwed up this all is. Imagine Ambassador John Caldwell going to Ethiopia in 1943 to partner with the Nazis so that some old rifles could be sent to the Italian Resistenza partigiana to fight Mussolini, and you have some idea how nuts this all is.
And why are we trying to sneak old, forgotten weapons from Libya to the Syrian revolt? Because Russia is quietly, and sometimes not so quiety, moving in powerful military hardware so the Assad régime can use it to slaughter his own people. Right—covert operations to thwart Russian interests. Because despite all of the Obama State Department’s protestations to the contrary, they are continuing to fight the Cold War. Like Skyfall, sometimes you stick with what you know.
The problem with the Middle East remains: good guys are so hard to find over there that everything becomes a moral dilemma: you cannot stand by and watch children get slaughtered, but that means making friends with people who would more readily want to slaughter your children.
Libertarians are screaming to get our military out of these engagements. Democrats are screaming that we need to avoid another new war. Republican conservatives ought to be screaming the something similar: if we go into Syria, we are going to open up a bigger bag of garbage. The United States found itself working awkwardly with all sorts of criminals in Iraq and Afghanistan for better or worse results; there are almost no good players in Syria.
Call it a hunch, but President Obama quietly knows this. He won’t admit it—and the Czar is not actually being terribly critical here—but he knows the Arab Spring was a disaster for the world, and that his sing-song gung-ho foray into Libya (which made so much sense when he was erring about the Arab Spring) wound up being a nightmare that should have cost him the election and should not have cost Chris Stevens and three other Americans their lives.
He thought the Arab Spring was a good thing because he was fooled like so many Americans by believing an incompetent media, who promoted this as 1989 all over again. With the Mandate of Heaven so ordained, so interpreted by the United Nations, the United States military went into Libya to help speed to process. Except the Arab Spring appears to be the West’s Autumn, and Libya is falling into the wrong hands. More so, Libya set a clear predecent—Syria is almost exactly the same situation, and while Syrians wonder where their help is, the United Nations’ phone line is suspiciously busy everytime they call.
“Let it go to voice mail,” says Ban Ki Mun, “We’ll say we were mountain biking this weekend and couldn’t get a good signal.” The inability of the UN to take action in Syria is a pretty clear indication that they consider Libya a huge mistake.
Bottom line: the United States can watch Syria and its people go down in flames, or we can get involved and watch Syria and a mix of our people and Syrians go down in flames. Sometimes the Czar wonders if this part of the world wants America to help, or just wants a common enemy to reunite the two sides.