Saturday, March 31, 2012

My position on the unrest in Syria

The unrest in Syria certainly gets a lot of media attention, but what is it really all about? I would like to be able to take a "position" on Syria and to support the U.S. taking a "position" on Syria, but I have to admit that despite all the media reports, I have zero confidence that I have any clue what is really going on, on the ground, so to speak. If this were simply about "peaceful" protesters pursuing an "Arab Spring", that would be one thing, but armed rebellion is not an indication that this is primarily about peaceful protestors being unfairly suppressed. My hunch is that the protesters are merely being used as the "front" or "human shield" by the hard-core "rebels." I also have a hunch that Israel is secretly "behind" a significant portion of both the "protest" and the "rebellion." I would not doubt that the U.S. may also be secretly aiding both, possibly indirectly through Israel, but the bottom line is that without much greater access to real facts, we simply can't know.
Personally, I do believe that "revolution" is an inherent natural right of all people. It is not a legal, constitutionally protected right, but it is still a legitimate, albeit extra-legal, natural right. That said, it is a right that must be used only very sparingly and with great deliberation and great care. In fact, the vast majority or people will never have a reason to ever even consider it in their entire lives. The American Revolution was one such occurrence. The American Civil War was another. Thankfully, none of us have had reason to consider it since.
My view is that it is up the the people themselves of a country as to whether it is appropriate for them to even contemplate revolution. It is certainly not up to outsiders, foreign leaders, media commentators, or even NGOs and so-called "activists" to decide if a people will "revolt" and seek the overthrow of the nominal authorities.
The people of Syria, and they alone, collectively must decide for themselves whether armed rebellion and revolution are the path they need to take. If they do choose or have in fact chosen that path, so be it, but they are on their own. It is not for us to either second guess or aid or handicap such a decision at this time. Their revolution, if that is what they have chosen, is theirs and theirs alone to pursue.
That said, and using our own American Revolution as a model, at some stage it will become clear whether their revolution is gaining traction and if at some stage they appear to have a reasonable chance of success. Only then can and should other countries consider "taking sides" and aiding the "rebels." Sure, we can consider a modest level of secret aid if we suspect that the rebels have a ghost of a chance of getting their act together, as the French did for us in the middle of our revolution, but it is only when rebels have proven that they have the widespread support of the people and have gotten their act together and are "unified" and are actually making real progress that outsiders can and should publically support the rebels. Alas, to date, the rebels in Syria have shown no sense of the kind of "unity" and popular support that is required for foreign backing. The media is very clear on that lack of unity. The degree of popular support for the rebels is quite unclear. Aiding the dis-united rebels today would simply result in chaos, not progress.
So, sad to say, we need to sit back and wait and watch. The sad fact is that most rebellions can and should be "put down." It takes a lot of domestic support and political unity to create a new nation and new national leadership, and despite the loud-mouthed protests of the so-called Arab Spring protesters, neither is firmly in place.
So, my conclusion at this stage is "wait and see", but I do also accept the right and obligation of our government to secretly aid rebels anywhere and anytime if we feel that "it is only a matter of time" before the rebels prevail. America must bet on progress, not maintaining an unsustainable status quo. The problem with Syria though is that it is not at all clear whether the rebels are on a path to sustainable progress, even if we were to give them a modest level of aid. But, to be clear, I would definitely not support more than a modest level of aid. A moderate or heavy level of aid must be absolutely out of the question, at this time.


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