Time to Look Past Sanctions as a Solution to Syria's Situation
Albert Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same over and over again and expecting a different result.
Months after the initial surge of revolution began in the Middle East and Western leaders first expressed their beliefs that autocratic tyrants such as Bashar al-Assad and Muhammar Gadhafi should be eliminated in order to preserve the civil rights and freedoms of the people living under their control, these same leaders are still using the previously ridiculed method of sanctions and verbal warnings in an attempt to dissuade al-Assad and others from harming their people.
Sanctions have been used repeatedly throughout the last few years as a means of subjecting a state to international pressure without using actual military force; however, in almost all cases (Iran, Libya, North Korea, to name a few), little has actually been accomplished. Should one base their judgements on the definition stated above, leaders such as Barack Obama, David Cameron, Nicholas Sarkozy, and Ban Ki-Moon are all certifiably insane.
More appalling than the absence creative and critical thinking needed to establish a new framework to punish rogue nations beyond sanctions, however, is the effect that these repeated failures will have on the people of the afflicted nations and on the worldwide image of the UN; the summit's inability to adequately promote and defend international peace and liberty de-legitimizes its image and removes its long-held image as a provider of security and freedom throughout the globe.
Reading the headlines of the last few days can allow one to glimpse the horrors currently occurring in Syria; in Hama, one of the centers of Syria's vehement resistance and protest movement, over 100 people have been reported dead over the last week. Indeed, it appears that Bashar al-Assad has decided to simply order his tanks to liquidate and destroy any city that he feels has become a hotbed of resistance; as a result, hundreds have died in cities such as Jisr al-Shughour and Hama as tanks and soldiers overpowered the civilians, many of whom were armed with only words.
The Syrian people are clearly in dire straits. However, rather than demanding some semblance of military action or at least a threat for one, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced another round of sanctions: "We are exploring broader sanctions that will isolate the Assad regime politically and deny it revenue with which to sustain its brutality." Of course, the intention of these sanctions is to help the Syrian people; however, after months of sanctions just like these with limited to no results and a death toll that increases daily, at some point Ms. Clinton, the Obama administration, and the UN must realize that sanctions are simply not getting the job done in Syria. And due to the lack of an alternative other than military force, the Syrian people appear to be destined to suffer under the iron fist of al-Assad for the foreseeable future.Continued on the next page