The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 29, 2012

Our View: France and Syria

Francois Hollande, the French president, has called on Syrian rebels to form a “shadow government” and called on the international community to support such a government.

Is that democracy in action? How does Hollande know if such a shadow government will support Western interests in Syria or even the interests of a majority of Syrians?

A lot of intelligence was obtained from rebels acting against the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in Iraq leading up to our invasion of that country.

 Now we know for sure the inaccuracy of such intelligence. As well such rebels did not even come close to a majority vote once elections were held, post-invasion, in Iraq.

We only need go back in time, around 1989, when the United States supported rebels against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. About 15 years later we faced those same rebels now called the Taliban. We wonder how farsighted President Hollande’s proposal might be, just for France, in the coming years.

In our view, no one understands all the political turmoil in Syria today. We do not like Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. But we challenge Hollande or even our own administration to try to pick a winner from the current mass of people opposed to Assad in Syria today.

 Pick the wrong group and we could have a serious alliance with Iran in place in that country or even one supporting Iran, Russia and China all at the same time.

If the tides shown in the Arab Spring over the last two years have proved anything, it is that the people in the countries involved in revolution will make their own decisions. Go read the history of Cold War (Soviet and American) intervention in “local” politics with two Big Powers getting on one side or the other and the consequences of such intervention.

In our view, Syrians have a very tough set of choices to make today. Are we arrogant enough to try to make the choices for them? We should not try to do that, again, pick a “winner” that in the long run is a “loser” for America’s best interests.

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