Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Syria Dilemma Summed Up in One Sentence

I touched upon the dilemma of a military strike against Syria in a couple of blog posts. Should there be a "limited strike" against Syria, and what would the implications of such a strike be? There is no international consensus, and Syria has the support of Russia and Iran, with Russia sending naval vessels to the Syrian coast.

Yesterday, a caller to the Thom Hartmann show, reflecting on the complexity of Syria's alliances and international relations, summed up the situation in one sentence: "The partisan who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assured that it was a limited strike."

On a less depressing note, Franz Ferdinand's new single is really catchy:


Unknown said...

And Pearl Harbor was a limited excursion.
Look what they lead too. But why should we be bad boy on the block? What right do we have to impose our will on others? Why should we have the only say on what they do?
Just because some company says so? I thought that stuff was settled with Chesty Puller and D. Eisenhower. And apparently not.

mikey said...

I dunno. Maybe we can learn something from history a little more recent and applicable than WW I.

Limited strikes. Let's see.

The US Bombed Libya in 1986. No escalation or wider war resulted.

The US and NATO bombed Serbia for three weeks in 1995. No wider war resulted, instead a peace agreement was negotiated and signed.

The US launched cruise missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan in August of 1998. No wider conflict resulted.

In 2007, Israel bombed a nuclear facility in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. Not only was their no escalation, the Syrians didn't even immediately acknowledge the attack.

In January of this year Israel bombed weapons storage and transport facilities in Damascus and on the Lebanese border. Syria threatened retaliation but did nothing.

Once again we have a post that frets about escalation and is suspicious of motives, but fails to address the key question - what the international community should do in the case of CW releases by autocratic dictators?

mikey said...


And since it's apparently just you and me, Mr. Bastard, maybe we should put some effort into teasing out the actual proximate cause of the first world war. Because Gavrilo Princip represents an interesting parallel into modern day nationalist, if not sectarian terrorism, WWI was going to happen even without that event, so it does not rationally serve as a proximate cause for escalation.

Ferdinand was a moderate, and Princip represented an extremist Bosniak position, and while the proxy standoff between the Serbs and their Russian sponsors and the Austria-Hungary iteration of the Habsburg/Holy Roman Empire was driving the runup to war, you can't forget that France was thinking that a war in the Balkans that brought Russia in against the Germans would allow France to recapture the Alsace/Lorraine regions they had so ignominiously lost.

The so-called "July Crisis" after the archduke's ill-timed passing was a contest of mobilization, which Austria-Hungary won and France, and particularly Belgium, lost. So it's kind of hard to see the actual parallel here...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's our record in the Middle East since the 1950s that concerns me more, mikey.

Remember Libya, 2911? Did we really help?