Photo Credit: Screenshot
Syrian soldier shooting at protesters in the city of Hama

“Monitoring missions can only work when the parties to a conflict have had enough of fighting or can be coerced into negotiation by outside powers. The Arab League mission members in Syria earlier this year were little more than bystanders, unable or unwilling to operate amid the government crackdown….The [Syrian] government has made it clear that the observers won’t have free rein.”

Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for the UN envoy Kofi Annan, whose past record hardly inspires confidence, says two truly shocking things:

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“The United States is leaving it in the hands of Kofi Annan, as is the rest of the world.…We’re the only path in town. There is no alternative.”

But why should the United States turn over its policy to the UN, especially since a number of members are pro-Syrian regime and blocking any serious action? And have we really reached a point in time when the UN can present itself as the only channel for international action?

In other words, it is assumed that the United States can have no independent policy. CNN accepts that view, adding, “That in itself illustrates how few options there are for the West to influence events in Syria.”

That’s nonsense. There are many other options. But how can there be hope for any alternative when a U.S. official actually admits:

“Our allies were coming back to us and saying, ‘What’s your next move?,’ and we were forced to admit we didn’t have one.'”

The U.S. economy is merely hopelessly in debt, but U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is hopelessly bankrupt.

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