The anti-war Glenn Beck?
I’ll admit it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. After all, I used to be guy on the sidelines cheering the ‘freedom on the march’ argument every time a president wanted to lob missiles or put boots on the ground somewhere.
But that all changed for me several years ago when I began to realize this democracy building mentality was a progressive mentality. Discovering the progressive strain of politics existed was a major pivot point in my life. I’m really big on pivot points – if you have a major change on an issue it should be accompanied by something so memorable you remember ever detail in the room when you discovered it. I remember being our Radio City studios when I heard Hillary Clinton explain she didn’t like to be called liberal but preferred being called an early 20th century progressive. I started researching and my eyes were opened to the fact that progressives were marching forward while regular liberals and conservatives were simply being used. That’s my pivot point and the main reason why I’m against war in Syria today.
I want to address everyone making the opposite argument today than they did 10 years ago:
Why have you switched?
Are you doing it merely because of politics or because of loyalty to Obama? Have you had an honest pivot point?
Too much is at stake to not know or admit the honest answer to this question. You may disagree with me on almost everything I say – that’s fine -- but I defy you to look at the facts of Syria and come away concluding this is something America should be engaging in.
War with Syria is suicidal and here are just a few reasons why.
China’s Foreign Minister said American should ‘think thrice’ before acting and exercise ‘extreme caution’ in what is a clear declaration of support for Assad’s regime. Russia has unabashedly come to the aid of Assad by sending a steady stream of weapons and recently they bolstered their naval presence near the Syrian coast with a missile cruiser and a destroyer among other ships. Iran, of course, has vowed to support Syria ‘to the end’ in the face of possibly military strikes from the United States.
Since the Arab Spring the Middle East has come unraveled – something that didn’t seem possible given its already volatile nature. Egypt is on the verge of civil war, Libya is suffering in lawless ruin, and Syria is mired in a deadly civil war that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people. The Assad regime, the radical terrorists fighting against Assad, and the Obama administration itself all admit a limited and measured strike from the United States will neither end the civil war nor change regimes.
So why bother doing it? What is this really all about? Here are a few of the keys:
-Assad saw what happened in Egypt and Libya and he’s making sure he does not suffer the same fate. He’s a dictator desperately trying to hold onto his power through any means possible.
-Iran doesn’t have many allies around the world, but Syria is one of them. Iran depends on Syria to funnel weapons to terrorist organization Hezbollah, whose main base of operation is in Lebanon. Hezbollah views any threat to the Assad regime as a threat to Palestinians and Lebanon.
-Syria hosts a Russian naval base on the Mediterranean and Russia needs the access to warm water ports or else they are either land locked or ice locked.
-Another major factor is oil & natural gas. Syria is one of the most strategic places for pipelines to flow into Europe. Qatar proposed a massive pipeline that would weave through Syria, but Assad turned that down in 2009 and instead partnered up with Russia and Iran to get the pipeline, which is due to open in 2016.
When questioned about the high cost of the war, Secretary of State John Kerry assured Americans by saying Arab nations have agreed to fund the entire cost of the war. Certainly this isn’t out of the kindness of their hearts or because they enjoy the United States getting militarily involved in Middle Eastern affairs – it’s because there’s a boat load of money at stake. If you want to figure out which side of the Syria conflict a particular nation is on, just figure out if they benefit or are harmed by the ‘Islamic pipeline’ and you’ll likely have your answer.
But there is another factor at play: Destabilization.
I’ve talked a lot about the Archduke Ferdinand moment. When Archduke Ferdinand (of Austria-Hungary) was assassinated in Bosnia in 1914 it triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led to World War I.
Here’s what happened:
Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist who was protesting Austria-Hungary’s control over Bosnia. Serbia at the time was trying to gain control over Bosnia.
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
Russia mobilized to give military aid to Serbia, an ally.
Germany then declared war on Russia.
When a Tunisian fruit cart vendor set himself on fire in protest and died, the President likened his actions to that of Rosa Parks. High praise considering Parks helped spark one of the most important civil rights movements in history. I didn’t see it that way –I saw it as 1914 all over again and another chance for extremists to attempt to redraw the map through war.
I believe I was right.
We all know the powerful images and the message of peaceful protest that came out of the civil rights movement. What has come from the Tunisian fruit cart vendor?
We have not seen peaceful marches – we’ve seen the violent overthrow of governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. We’ve seen devastating civil war in Syria for over two and a half years and hundreds of thousands of people dead. We’ve seen radical Islamists murdering Christians and eating the hearts out of their sworn enemy on videotape. We’ve seen American journalists raped in the streets, Priests beheaded, scores of civilians brutally executed in the streets. We’ve seen Russia, Iran, China, the United States preparing and posturing for war on a global scale.
I’m having a really hard time finding Rosa Parks anywhere near this colossal mess.
It isn’t some political game for us to get involved in so those who have made threats can save a little face. ‘Limited’ and ‘measured’ means nothing to the family whose home was just obliterated by a stray bomb. It means nothing to the Christians, the moderate Muslims, the homosexuals, the atheists, or anyone else who won’t submit to the will of a dictator nor the dictates of Sharia Law under radical Islamic rule. Try this - put yourself in the shoes of the typical woman in Syria. Are they excited about the prospect of United States military strikes? What is the best possible outcome for them?
First they have to survive the bombings. If they manage to accomplish that, they’ll face one of two scenarios. Either Assad remains in power and they have to live in fear of government crackdowns OR Assad is ousted and the people are forced to live under radical Islamic rule and the harsh conditions of Sharia Law.
The cost of getting involved is far too high and it’s the people of Syria are the ones who will pay the price. It will eventually cost all citizens of the globe as it will put us another step closer to World War III.
And for what? America to save face? To Secure pipelines?
The time for politics and party loyalty is over. Do your own homework. If you just take the administration’s word for it (or John McCain or John Boehner or Lindsey Graham’s for that matter) that it’s ‘slam dunk’ case, I believe you are part of the problem. Likewise, if you are against it just because I said so but you really don’t know why – you are part of the problem too. You are stopping, dare I say it – progress.
If we continue to allow others to dictate our thinking then we deserve what we reap.
But the innocent people who will suffer in the Middle East do not.
Featured image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.