moral musings

Beyond Assad’s ugly fame

Let us think this through and perhaps it can be seen in another light. It is said that the United States and the Western world generally are concerned that the Syrian government still has chemical weapons. The question which goes through my mind is “would any country not be tempted to have any sort of weapon to combat the sharp scourge of ISIS terrorists which threatens its corporate existence and the good of its people?” With the sort of ruthlessness which terrorist groups, particularly ISIS, has demonstrated lately, one can hardly blame such governments like the Syrian government without also looking at the fire that has been consuming it underneath all this while. That fire has now come into full glare and to say the least, one appreciates better the pathetic nature of these insurgents.

I do understand the benign, civilized culture of the West. It is a great culture which has enabled the emancipation and growth of peoples. And we need its framework in the world right now more than ever. Such a culture syncs well with the spirit of the Christian scriptures which affirms that in His days justice shall flourish, making reference to Jesus Christ. Or rather one should say with Benedict XVI that Christianity is the very foundation of that culture. I however do think it is the simplicity and open-trust of that same culture which terrorists like the ISIS terrorists are leveraging upon.

Great as the said Western culture is, all the scenes playing out in the Middle East and North Africa all come together to strongly point out that it is not a culture that could be copied verbatim and simply adopted everywhere imaginable. Not without some modification at least. It would appear the political clime which such a culture encourages can not be sustained in a number of regions of the world which do not have the same religious foundation which has given birth to such a pacific culture, the aforementioned Middle East and North Africa regions for instance.

These are regions which have peculiar situations and need to be managed in very peculiar ways. Democracy is beautiful, but democracy finely uprooted from the West and planted in the Middle East or anywhere for that matter without a re-cultivation in line with its new ambience is poised to cause trouble. It is this sort of trouble that has brewed to the full in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt to mention a few.

No one doubts that the leaders or erstwhile leaders of the aforementioned places had some issues that had to be corrected; they had some way of ruling that had to be refined; some dictatorship that had to be stopped. But from what we have seen, sudden and violent removal of such leaders have only led to even worse evils and greater perils for the people. Such sudden removal, apart from undermining the sovereignty of these countries, more often than not quickly shows the many problems that these so-called dictators/leaders have had to combat with to uphold the integrity and security of their different countries. In candid assessment, removal of these erring leaders without looking deeper into the situations in which they find themselves is a political gaffe which we have seen just too many times lately.

In the face of the awkward position which the United States now finds itself: precisely the difficult choice of either having to work with Assad or let ISIS continue its spree in Syria, I’ll choose the former. It is not only logical, it is equally in line with the Western desire to rid the world of such brutal terrorism which ISIS truly represents. It is only in partnership with legitimate governments that the community of nations can then move forward to encourage such legitimate governments to be more responsible and less inimical in its carrying out of its functions.

For all we know, ISIS and its allies will not as much as bat an eyelid to use any weapon, chemical or worse, to get rid of both its perceived enemies and any innocent people in its way. The West must now re-examine its policies at this political crossroad which it finds itself, even if it means aligning with non-traditional governments like Syria. Dialogue works; political estrangement only strengthens such groups like ISIS. We have seen it in current experiences in Iraq, Libya, and perhaps even in Egypt.

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