The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has voted to authorize President Obama to take action against Syria in response to their use of chemical weapons against their own people. Three of the most well known Republicans have voted with the majority. The Republicans were Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker. This resolution will now be presented to the full senate for approval.
In the House of Representatives, the Republican leadership is with the Obama administration but most of the Republicans are not. I personally wonder about the final resolution (if it is even passed). The problem was, as I see it, the Republican Senators who voted for the resolution (McCain, Flake, and Corker) were not talking “punitive action”. Rather they were talking “regime change”. To me, regime change refers to a war on the scale of Iraq. That is not what the president proposed.
How would we pay for that? The Republicans have already indicated that it will be on the backs of the poor and middle class (what is left of us). There will be no tax increases on big business or the wealthy. If we did adapt the “regime change” attitude, make no mistake, we are going to do it by ourselves. It is not clear to me that our friends and allies would believe anything that our leadership would say.
It takes a long time to build up a good reputation, but a very short time to destroy it. The Bush era between 2000 and 2008 took care of any creditability we may have had. Further, there are already some doubts as to who used the poison gas — Assad or the rebels.
Here is an interesting thought: if you MUST have an enemy on your borders, Mr. Assad is actually a good one to have. Why? Well, he sure knows how to control his borders. Look at the border between Syria and Israel. The Israelis took the Golan Heights in the 1967 “6-Day War” war. They lost it and then won it back in 1973, the “Yom Kippur War”. Golan has been quiet since then. There are Syrians, Druids, and Israelis living and farming there. No one is shooting. Contrast that with the Lebanese border, the border between Gaza and Israel, and the border between Egypt and Israel.
What happens if Assad is overthrown? Don’t get your hopes up that Syria will suddenly become a Jeffersonian Democracy. There will be a blood bath until the rebels get tired of that. Then there will be an enforcement of Islamic Law, and a renewal of the war against Israel.
There are no good choices.