I understand by definition what an “opinion” is, but Matt Glazer, in his “Syria must learn to abide by international law” on March 15, should have done a little research before penning this shortsighted and incredibly biased piece. Glazer falls into the same trap that most quick to war jingoists do: the fact that the United States practices one set of rules or standards and expects foreign governments to live by another.
How can anyone who has been watching the conflicts unfold for the last 4 years cite Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of U.S. victories in the game of “Who gets a regime change?” The current administration has taken it upon itself to decide who is evil or good by its own set of warped standards. Anyone following both conflicts through media sources other than Fox News knows these regime changes are defiantly, at this time, failed attempts, or at least works in progress, and cannot be used to propagate more of the same activities around the globe. As Colin Powell said before the invasion, “If we break it, we own it.” Well, now we own it, and there’s a lot to reconstruct before these countries can be used as examples to push our agendas in other countries.
Glazer seems quick to threaten Syria with outside intervention by citing that Syria is in violation of resolution 1559 of the United Nations Security Council. Because of Syria’s noncompliance with one of the U.N. violations, the author seems to condone a bloody, prolonged occupation by United States forces. Between 1955 and 1992, Syria’s neighbor Israel has been in violation of over 60 United Nations resolutions. Not only has the United States government turned a blind eye to this fact but Israel receives colossal monetary gifts in economic aid from the United States. How can anyone in the international community respect us when our government lives by these blatant double standards?
While I agree that Syria is not at a social or human rights standard that should be attained by a country in the 21st century, for Glazer to make the statement that it is the worst human rights violator in the world is preposterous. If we are going to challenge Syria on its human rights record, where is the challenge to China, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Pakistan, India and Israel?
By using Glazer’s standards for deciding to violently remove a regime, I would point out that our role in South Korea is comparative to Syrians in Lebanon. Fifty years ago, the United States helped fight a land war in Korea. After a stalemate, the army took up residence in several large military bases in South Korea. It has been 50 years, and we are still there occupying that land. Yet we still remain steadfast that we belong there, and it’s our right, as a nation, to use foreign lands for our own military’s purposes.
My conjecture would be that if “we talk the talk, we should walk the walk.” When the United States lives by its own set of standards regarding foreign policy, then they will have the right to pressure Syria with violent actions.
Teacher Credentialing Program graduate student