Syria: America's Moral Dilemma

Farai Chideya, writing at her blog, Farai.com, blends issues of morality with those of national interest as she explores questions that have bedeviled President Obama and Congress during the smoldering debate over Syria.

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In a piece at her blog, Farai.com, Farai Chideya explores questions that have bedeviled President Barack Obama and Congress in the smoldering debate over Syria. She blends issues of morality (When is killing justified?) with those of national interest (Will intervention help America?).

Let's parse out a few of these different lines, and who espouses them. The first two are pro-intervention; the second two, against.

One – This is the new Rwanda. We can't sit out a genocide.

President Obama appointed Samantha Power US Ambassador to the United Nations. She is the author of A Problem From Hell, a landmark and Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide. It certainly jibes with the moral argument made by the President when he stated "People who decry international inaction in Rwanda and say, 'How terrible it is that there are these human rights violations that take place around the world, and why aren't we doing something about it?' And they always look to the United States. 'Why isn't the United States doing something about this, the most powerful nation on earth? Why are you allowing these terrible things to happen?'" He added "And then if the international community turns around when we're saying it's time to take some responsibility and says, 'Well hold on a second. We're not sure,' that erodes our ability to maintain the kind of norms that we're looking at."

Two – This is a regional cascade and Iran will be emboldened by American inaction.

AIPAC (the biggest Israeli-interest political action committee in America) has put its muscle behind pushing Syria action. As Politico put it:

They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that"barbarism" by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would "send a message" to Tehran that the U.S. won't stand up to hostile countries' efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group. "History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression," said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a "major mobilization" over the issue.

Read Farai Chideya's entire piece at Farai.com.

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