- By David Van Dyk
- Published: September 10th, 2013
The world waits and watches as the Syrian civil war prompts potential international military intervention
When a nation comes to the realization that the world is watching it, something happens that tests the mettle and morale of that land. A phrase that can be used in this instance is “trial by fire.” As Syria hangs in the balance, that trial will test the resolve of the United States of America.
President Barack Obama came out of the White House and stepped into the Rose Garden to make a statement — a statement for a waiting and watching world. All eyes focused on one man with one choice: to make a stand against that which is wrong, or turn a blind eye to injustice.
For a while now, much of the Middle East has turned to America with a mocking voice, considering us hypocrites. In their eyes, we are a Christian nation, yet we practice that which is not Christian. We put our foot down, but the moment it gets stepped on, we quickly take a step back.
According to Dean Shawn Akers of the Helms School of Government, we have come to a point where our word no longer holds weight.
“A lot of the world is questioning our veracity,” Akers said. “They want to know whether we mean what we say and whether we say what we mean.”
When children become comfortable with parents’ lack of discipline, they learn their boundaries, or lack thereof. When we say something, we must act on it.
“In this particular case, the president made a statement a few months ago referring to a red line that put us in a position as a nation to appear weak if you don’t do something, but if you do, you have to ask yourself what the consequences are,” Akers said.
When Obama spoke of a red line against chemical weapons use, he drew a line in the sand. He threw down the gauntlet and dared any foe to cross it. Now that Bashar al-Assad has crossed it with the use of sarin nerve gas, a deadly chemical that kills in minutes, the world waits and watches.
We saw an interesting decision in Britain where the House of Commons denied military action against Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that future use of chemical weapons in Syria could result in significant destruction.
Watching this unfold, I could not help but wonder if Obama was wise in seeking authorization from Congress. According to Akers, Obama’s consideration in taking this to Congress involves several key components.
First, there are political ramifications, where many in the Obama administration were vocal against Bush concerning Iraq and Afghanistan. Changing their minds in support of one’s view can be a difficult process.
Second, there is the legal aspect. The War Powers Act gives the president 89 days to take military action to defend our interests as a nation.
Third, there is the strategic question, and according to Akers, it constitutes a larger scope.
“If Congress comes out in support of him, then you have a united front,” Akers said. “If Congress comes out against him, he would have to act unilaterally against Congress’ wishes and it again makes the United States look bifurcated and weak in the international community.”
Though other countries continue to speak out against the violence, their lack of action makes the message loud and clear: As long as words are exchanged and bullets are not, no harm is done.
But harm has been done. According to Gregory Korte, reporter for USA Today, Sen. Chris Murphy said that he gagged every time he saw photos of those disfigured by the horrible sarin nerve gas used on civilians.
And so, as the world looks around watching and waiting to see who takes a stand, it is my hope that America raises its hand and says enough is enough. It is my desire that as other countries crouch in their seats, America stands in front of the class and implores fellow nations to stand for mutual moral and ethical values.