“America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” These were the words of the prescient philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville.
And, on first glance, they may suggest that President Obama’s desire to strike Syria militarily, is justified. After all, chemical arms are the one type of weapon the world rejects.
Not even Churchill could convince the British military chiefs of the Second World War to use them.
They are evil; ghastly. And their use cannot be granted impunity, ordinarily.
But what choice does the United States have?
The Syrian civil war that rages is no ordinary conflict. There is no “good” and “evil” in this fight. It pits Muslim extremist against Muslim extremist. And the Middle Eastern theater is the most perilous of theaters.
It may sound callous, but no one should undervalue the political realism here, or forget what America, and the West have been subjected to by Islamic terror since the beginning of this century: cowardly and deadly attacks that have changed our way of life.
Put simply: Muslim extremists killing other Muslim extremists is in America’s national interest.
That’s why Sarah Palin’s right when she says: “Let Allah sort it out.” Indeed, a cynic might say: “Give each side weapons and let them take care of each other.”
Britain, an actor in the European theater, has said “Thank you, but no, thank you.” Australia, America’s most steadfast ally, has said it will support the United States, but it has no military role to play, only a diplomatic one. The French? Well, who knows where they recently acquired their cojones at the expense of croissants, but there isn’t much they can offer America militarily, either.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Assad regime- they’re all cut from the same cloth. It’s the other cheek on the same butt. The same horse but a different jockey. They all hate the West. They all hate America. They all see us as infidels. So, what is the point of striking the Assad regime when all it does is assist Al-Qaeda? What is the point of expending valuable time and resources (America really can’t afford) when that’s the reality of it? More than that, why expose the gallant young men and women of the American military and risk the most valuable treasure of all?
In fact, it is entirely possible that US military action against Syria could make a difficult situation worse- and have the unintended and utterly disastrous consequence of enriching the radical Islamic cause, and endangering the indispensable Israel.
America must have a commitment to goodness, and that can be met by decreasing the threat of radical Islam, helping Western civilization, and acting to keep America strong, as it is the last best hope for the world. Taking no action against Syria preserves what Tocqueville rightly insists is America’s secret weapon- goodness.
I must confess: I have supported every military intervention America has been involved in, in the last century. But I don’t support this. Not necessarily because I am fatigued by war, or worried that the world’s greatest nation and fighting force will be stretched too thin by this. And definitely not because I don’t want America to be the world’s policeman. The world needs a policeman, and it has to be America- the world has been, and will continue to be, a better place that it is.
But just as if it were two criminal gangs that had terrorized a small town for years having a showdown shoot-out, the Sherriff should sit this one out.
He has nothing to gain. At the end of it, he will have fewer villains to deal with. And fewer people terrorizing his town, and his friends. That’s in his interest.