The Norman Transcript

Opinion

September 8, 2013

World fails to jump on anti-Assad bandwagon

NORMAN — President Obama has scored a victory of sorts with a Senate panel accepting military action in Syria.

But that’s a far cry from the broad-based international support such a mission demands. We note the rationale for striking Syria is to deter the future use of chemical weapons by that country and others. If the rest of the world lacks the incentive to join the Obama administration’s call, what’s the point?

It has been disheartening to watch the president and top members of his administration try to make the case in Washington and around the globe for action against the Syrian government. The Assad regime’s employment of sarin gas against its own people should have sparked widespread outrage.

Yet the response was muted, marked with hesitancy, uncertainty and doubts about claims the Syrian government was responsible.

The failure to build international consensus against the Assad government ultimately rests with the president. After all, he had previously put his own — and the nation’s — prestige at stake by warning of dire consequences if chemical weapons were used in Syria’s civil war.

With such a declaration, the administration should have been pressing its case globally, in preparation for the possibility Syria would wage chemical warfare. That effort alone would have served as a deterrent, and if an attack came anyway, a quick response would have been possible.

It is important to ask why the international community is so reticent about taking a strong stand against Syria. The reasons vary.

One factor is the skepticism regarding evidence of chemical weapons use. The invasion of Iraq on the grounds Saddam Hussein was hiding his chemical arsenal is still fresh in the world’s memory.

But it’s likely the main consideration is the lack of meaningful reforms in other Arab nations where long-time dictatorships have been overthrown in recent years. In countries such as Libya and Egypt, the so-called Arab Spring hasn’t exactly led to peace and democracy.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014