U.S. Has No Choice but to Attack Syria

As a moral superpower, the U.S. cannot refrain from acting against the mass murderer from Damascus.

Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit
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Ari Shavit
Ari Shavit

A U.S. strike in Syria may have severe repercussions. It may get the United States enmeshed in an inter-ethnic Syrian conflict. It might spark an international crisis with anti-American superpowers Russia and China. It could cause Bashar Assad to act in an irrational manner against his pro-American neighbors. The chance of Israel being attacked is rather low, as is the chance of the Middle East bursting into flames, but when one chooses a violent course of action in a region full of nitroglycerin, one can never anticipate the outcome. One must be prepared for the unexpected.

And still, the anticipated American strike is a strike of no choice.

There's no choice, because we are human beings, and as such we cannot stand by while other human beings are executed with poison gas. We cannot sit passively when we see the bleeding women and children of east Damascus. The world remained silent when other women and children were murdered, and the American bombers remained on the ground. No longer. The new international order in the wake of World War II was meant to ensure that genocide would not happen again, and that the horrific scenario of death by gassing would not be repeated. This international order is poised on the edge of an abyss. Lack of action at this point in time, in the face of ghastly images, would signify a loss of basic humanity. As a moral superpower, the United States cannot refrain from acting against the mass murderer from Damascus.

There is no choice because of the attack perpetrated against the international order. After the end of the Cold War the world became a global village. This order is based on the assumption that we're all linked to the same economy, that we all share common values, that we are all subject to one basic set of principles. The international community and international law became the anchor of international order, enabling the international market to function in a manner that promoted growth and values of freedom throughout the globe. When Assad used chemical warheads in east Damascus, murdering his citizens, he also shattered international law and stripped the notion of an "international community of any meaning.

Therefore, in order to prevent the complete breakdown of the international system that has stabilized the world over the last 25 years, action is called for. As the superpower charged with overseeing the international order, the United States cannot refrain from acting against the mass murderer from Damascus.

There is no choice since reality has lost its mind. Chemical weapons were introduced in the beginning of the 20th century, and nuclear arms were introduced in the middle of the 20th century. The greatest diplomatic success of the last few decades has been preventing the use of both. In the 21st century it will be very difficult to maintain this vital record of success. More and more irrational forces are purchasing more and more non-conventional arms, threatening to unleash them in apocalyptic scenarios. Therefore the world leadership must make clear to all lunatics weighing these insane options, that this lunacy will not be tolerated. World leaders must respond to this new danger with a crushing deterrent.

Assad is the first test case, which will be followed by others. After the Syrian tyrant lost his mind last week and acted insanely, it is imperative to prove to him and those of his ilk that the world will not tolerate this insanity and the world knows how to defend its core human values.

As the superpower that defends freedom, stands up for sanity and maintains order, the United States cannot refrain from acting against the mass murderer from Damascus.

There is no other alternative. The upcoming American strike on Syria is an attack of no choice.

A woman holds an U.S. flag during an anti-Assad protest outside the UN February 4, 2012.Credit: AP

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