Country cannot take sides in foreign civil war
Brutal dictator or bloodthirsty rebels? The sides are relatively evenly matched in an all out war, and the outcome is still up in the air. If you had to pick one, which do you want to support?
This isn’t some philosophical thought practice, but an actual policy decision being faced by the United States and the United Nations in Syria. Most Americans are at least somewhat aware that there’s some kind of revolution going on in Syria, but few know the extent to which this attempted regime change has escalated- with thousands of combatants dead and hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced or killed, Syria is in the throws of one of the most gruesome civil wars in recent memory.
Repeated attempts from various other countries to moderate a peace agreement between current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the various revolutionary groups have all failed, which has lead many nations, including the United States, to consider military intervention.
Of course, before we can intervene, we have to decide which side we’re going to support. This is a rather tricky question, as both sides are guilty of continued war crimes ranging from cannibalism to suicide bombings to usage of chemical weapons. Specifically, the incumbent government forces are guilty of targeting densely populated neighborhoods with air strikes and firing on peaceful protesters, while the rebels have been filmed dismembering and eating opposing soldiers, some of whom were still alive.
We also need to consider the “blowback” from supporting one of the sides- the potential side effects or repercussions. If we support the side that wins, they’ll likely expect continued monetary and military aid, and will be upset with the U.S. if we don’t give it to them. If we support the side that loses, then we go down in Syria’s history books as the puppet-master of their greatest enemy, making us evil by extension.
What we face here is a choice between the lesser of two evils. Either way we decide we’ll be giving money and weapons to suicide bombers and men who have no problem slaughtering innocent civilians.
In a lose-lose situation like this, perhaps “who do we support?” is the wrong question. In this author’s opinion, the right question is, “why support either side?” What do we have to gain by picking a side?
When it comes to Syria’s civil war, we should not be picking one group of Syrians and helping them slaughter another group of Syrians. This is Syria’s revolution, something Syria needs to settle on it’s own. For the U.S., choosing to support either side is the wrong choice.