Should the US bomb Syria?
Recent polls show 91% of the country thinks the US should not bomb Syria. Sadly it seems the other 9% has control over the bombs.
So where is the error in my thinking here?
Before the congressional approval process is complete, Iran threatens retaliation against Israel if the US bombs Syria. After the proposed US bombing raid in Syria, Iran is likely to strike at Israel. Israel will respond by using superior force, possibly nuclear weapons against Iran. Russia and China will face off against a US-backed Israel and we get a full-on World War III.
Perhaps this a 5% chance. Certainly, the situation in Syria is not trivial. Chemical weapons use matters. Obama said it was a red line, this means something for the deterrent credibility. But the problems with the US “going alone” with only France as a significant ally in the attack are serious as well. It matters to some, that only the UN Security Council can permit such strikes short of an attack on the US.
Obama’s plan will violate international law and it is quite unlikely to change much in the Syrian conflict, unless we are unlucky like the disaster forecast above.
The good news is that 189 countries have signed the chemical weapons treaty. (Syria is not a signature). That as of Jan 2013 over 78% of the worlds stockpiles of chemical weapons had been destroyed. And that chemical weapons degrade with time and you can not effectively stockpile them for long periods. Thus if a US strike could actually hit them, they might actually be destroyed and be somewhat hard to replace.
But in the end it is not going to be US airstrikes that stop chemical weapons use, either in Syria or other countries. To attain this globally sought goal, there will have to be wide spread understanding, rather than a solo global policeman with ineffective tools.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]