Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Letter to President Obama on Syria

Dear President Obama,

I write out of concern for the ongoing conflict in Syria. Your actions in Libya demonstrated that the United States can, in consort with our allies, effectively project armed force in support of our values and interests. The strategic situation in Syria is clearly very different, and your prudence up to this point has been well warranted by the circumstances. However, the crisis has become so dire that we are compelled to take action, despite the real risks.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad, with its recent indiscriminate massacre of civilians, has fallen back on the use of unrestrained terror as the last remaining bulwark of its sovereign power. Such a government has put itself beyond the reach of any genuinely political process, it is not an entity that can be engaged diplomatically. The only way to revive a political process in Syria and to restore effectiveness to diplomatic means is to aid the development of a robust military alternative to the Assad machine. It is thus imperative that the international community rally to support the Free Syrian Army with funding, training, and weapons, so that they may protect the Syrian populace and force the Assad regime to refrain from committing wholesale slaughter.

Arguments against such a policy are of course valid. We do not know the precise composition of the Free Syrian Army, and some of its members are no doubt hostile to the U.S. and Israel. Support of the Free Syrian Army would anger Russia and antagonize Iran. Such caveats are undermined by the dramatic nature of the current crisis, however. Little can be done to destabilize the situation further than it has already become, and there is nothing that can be done to ameliorate the crisis that will be accepted by either Russia or Iran.

This being an election year, any action you take will no doubt come under unfair criticism from your political opponents. I would urge you, however, to show the same strength of leadership in the case of Syria as you showed in Libya. If the Assad regime is able to reestablish itself through naked terror, the cause of the Arab Spring will be set back dramatically, a consequence that will rebound to the severe detriment of the U.S. and her allies. Audacious action is required to secure the progress that the people of Syria and the Arab world at large have fought so bravely to achieve.

I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for your attention on this matter.


Andrew Meyer