What strategic national security interests does the U.S. gain from fanning the flames of factional fighting by arming Syrian rebels? Clearly America’s experimentation with forcing democracy through military action on unwilling Middle Eastern countries has failed; costing us in the process more than a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives.
We fought actively for a decade in Iraq, in large measure because we failed to understand the religious, political and security factions in that country. We continue to have difficulty threading the needle in Afghanistan; now we are apparently negotiating with the Taliban – the very forces the U.S. originally set out to destroy. Washington knows even less about Syria than we did Iraq and Afghanistan; and therein lies the real danger a Syrian-intervention poses. For all intents and purposes, the United States will be “going in blind” -- hardly a plan to which any successful American military leader in times past, from Washington to Patton and MacArthur, would attach their name.
Adding an even greater degree of risk is the fact that becoming involved in Syria pits the United States directly against Russia in a Cold War-style foreign policy showdown of surrogates. Except now, rather than a masterful statesmen like Ronald Reagan leading us, we have a former community organizer from Chicago matching wits against the former head of the KGB. Hardly a fair contest. Yet, Obama marches on.
Last Friday, Syrian rebels claimed to now possess anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry given them by "brotherly nations that support the Syrian revolution." With our less-than-stellar track record for keeping tabs on weapons during the Obama Administration's "Operation Fast & Furious" – in which it intentionally sold weapons to criminals it was unable to track before or after the sales -- one can only shiver at the thought of where these lethal weapons might wind up after the "Syrian Spring” has subsided.
If there truly were a definable and tangible US national security interest hiding somewhere in this mess, then most Americans would likely support providing appropriate covert -- or even limited overt -- assistance in support thereof. However, no such interests are evident at this juncture. There is only danger, both to our reputation as a world power, and to the future safety of American citizens and interests.