Syria, Russia, and Pragmatism

Antagonizing the Russian Bear is exactly what the neoconservative foreign policy establishment relishes. Cold War fervor has gripped the foreign affairs establishment from Washington, D.C to London, where they are continually briefed on Russian bombardments in Aleppo.

Why is it any of our concern? Yes, it is tragic what is going in Syria, but it is necessary for the Russians to eliminate the terrorist threat on the ground. While the mainstream media claims that innocent civilians are being murdered, they refuse to acknowledge the fact that hardcore Islamist fanatics are the rebels that the legitimate government of Syria and the Russians are waging war against.

War is cruel, ugly, and brutal. Unfortunately, innocent civilians die in war, and this shall always be the case. Nevertheless, only focusing on the civilians that have been murdered in Aleppo completely ignores the threat of the Islamist terrorists.

It has been suggested that the United Nations evacuate the civilians from Aleppo. Who is the United Nations to tell a sovereign government what they should do within their own borders? Why should we take the risk of allowing terrorists the chance to slip out of the city, and commit acts of barbarity elsewhere? It is a risk we should not take.

To understand the reality of the situation, we must first understand the history of the conflict.

In 2011, citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic rose up against President Assad’s government. Naturally, government forces moved in to suppress this rebellion. Within months Sunni soldiers were defecting en masse to the Free Syrian Army. This, in turn, led to a civil war, which the Islamists exploited. Most Western analysts believe that intervention in Syria should have taken place before the Islamists moved in from Iraq and elsewhere. But why should we try to effect regime change in Syria? We have seen what regime change has brought us in Iraq and Libya. The West never seems to learn from its mistakes. When we intervene and overthrow secular dictators, it seems only natural that the Islamists will come to power.

Foreign policy experts claim that we should have intervened in Syria to prevent Al Qaeda and ISIS from moving in from Iraq, but the fact is there would have been no ISIS or Al Qaeda in Iraq in the first place if we had not overthrown Saddam Hussein in 2003.

One just has to look at who is fighting the Syrian military forces to know that we should not get in the way of the Russians. Why should we condemn Russia for bombing ISIS, the Islamic Front, and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham?

What do we need? We need a clear and decisive victory for the government of President Assad. Only then can we have some semblance of stability in western Syria. If we do not have this, then the civil war will drag on and on with no end in sight. If you want peace, you must break the eggs to achieve it. The Islamists terrorists are those eggs, and they must be broken. Instead of facilitating Cold War fervour, the West should accept that Russia will not let go of their influence in Syria, and that it is in our strategic interest to work with them to annihilate the Islamist threat in the Levant. If we fail to do this, then it is only a matter of time before these Sunni Islamists march on Lebanon. How many more countries have to collapse before we wake up? I fear more shall fall, and we will never learn until it is too late.

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