Crossing the Red Line

Bogdan U. September 7, 2013 0

If statements are easy to release, it’s much harder to back them up with strong actions. Especially in the context of confusion and tension that can be found in the area. In theory a chemical attack represents a violation of the international legislation, but when it comes to setting up the political strategies chances that the National Security Council will approve them are zero. The western public opinion is not pleased with this kind of atrocities, not even with the thought of permitting destructive military actions, especially after they had witnessed the turmoil in the Arabic region from the past 2 years. It is preferable to draw conclusions rather than to find a manner of negotiation. As the founder of Stratfor, George Friedman, has recently mentioned that the ones that urge a military intervention in order to stop the massacres will be the first to condemn the U.S. when this kind of actions will lead inevitably to the loss of human lives. In spite of this fact, Washington can’t hold the intervention after the president Barack Obama publicly stated that a chemical attack is crossing the red line and there will consequences for it.

The problem is that the Americans find themselves in an extremely delicate situation, after the British Parliament voted against going to war. They can only rely on France for the military support. The attacks have to be solid enough to destabilise the Syrian regime, but not to create too many collateral victims which could be used against the “liberators” by the local opponents and the home pacifists.

ObamaBut beyond the analysis of a chaotic battle ground, part of some complicated Titans’ games with regional and global consequences, there can be drawn some observations having as a starting point not just the crisis from Syria, but also the ones in Egypt, Tunis and Yemen. The first observation is that the praised multipolar world is unstable, unpredictable and potentially more dangerous. As the Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells said at the beginning of the 90’s, the world has globalised but we don’t have efficient global institutions capable to ensure for example the security and the order at an international level, the way different institutions of a state do it at a national level. This role is unofficially played by the U.S., which is accused of behaving as the “world gendarme”. But is there an alternative? We can imagine ourselves a state without military forces, in which the safety and well-being of the individuals, the properties and the public places rest upon the good faith of the citizens? If we refer to ONU or to the Security Council we immediately end up in a dead end. As clearly as it can be seen, the capacity of taking major decisions is practically paralysed by the contradictory political interests of the leading actors. The Russians for example will block any military action against the Damask regime regardless the arguments.

The second observation is be related to the Palestinian issue, which is considered to be the main reason of the instability in the Middle East. The dramatic evolutions and extremely dangerous from Egypt and Syria, which has no connection with the issue, disprove this fact. On the contrary, the Arabic states prove themselves to be ever so divided when it comes to these conflicts. In the past 3 years a lot of tensions have grown out of the religious and ethnic nature, apparently with no solution. This whole region is sitting on a powder keg; stir up by the chaotic evolutions created in the Arabic Spring, by the regional ambitions of Iran and Turkey and by the multitude of Islamic terrorist groups extremely active especially in Yemen and Somalia.

Finally, a third observation is that if it is true that military interventions, power solutions can not only give partial answers to the multitude of conflicts in the area without a real deterrent capacity, without “hard power”, the statements, gestures of good intentions and, ultimately, even international law have no value in the real world despite the prevailing rhetoric cultivated leftist intellectual and political circles.

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