Sunday, 15 September 2013

An Essay On Syria, Morality And The International Community

Do you know why chemical weapons are often referred to as the "poor man's nuke"? The term comes as a snide label detailing the devastating effects these weapons have compared to their relatively low cost. Chemical weapons range in terms of specific types, however they all share a common trait of being silent killers that leave no blood, no mess, just corpses.

Syria has become an escalated topic for the international community solely for the fact that not since the attacks of Saddam Hussein against Kurdish citizens, has an internal conflict taken such an extreme turn. The very fact that a dictator has had the confidence to use these weapons, not only challenges the validity and strength of the United Nations, but more importantly provides a mirror to the world of free men and challenges their morality and authenticity.

When President Obama declared that America is not a police state, but simply enforcing the will of the international community, he was in fact keeping a strong face to ensure morality ensues. If we allow one dictator to get his way, how does that make the United Nations look? This situation can be compared to a man beating his wife, children and relatives, only to have the police officers stand on his porch and watch as he explains why beating them was not his fault, but justified because of their own actions against him. Common sense would dictate that this example is one that requires intervention, however the question of sovereignty arises when action is put on the table. How do you enforce international law and respect the sovereignty of a single nation at the same time? I personally believe that if a member of the United Nations begins to attack it's own people physically, this should automatically open the possibility of an international response. While it is easy to write this, the implementation of having every country on the planet become a part of the UN is another thing. 

What makes the situation more unbearable however, is the human cost as a result of this internal conflict. Chemical weapons as mentioned at the beginning of this post are a game changer, they are an extreme response to a conventional conflict and show a sign of inhumane thinking. Using these weapons in self defense is one thing, deploying them on your countrymen is a simple shame.

Below, I am going to be displaying pictures of the effects these weapons have had on civilians. I display these pictures not to disrespect the individuals themselves, but to show an extreme example of the deadliness these weapons pose and the importance of banning their use.

Viewer Discretion is Advised


Effects of chemical gas on livestock, if the gas doesn't kill you, starvation will.

We all know the effects of a nuclear weapon on a city, the place is demolished in seconds and everything there incinerated. The use of chemical weapons are ideal for keeping the assets of a city in one piece, while removing its inhabitants with ease. The pictures above show the results of chemical weapon use, you have individuals going to bed at night, never to wake up. No mess, no problem, all provided with ease.

Many of the victims in this attack were not military, which is another reason why the Syrian conflict has become so escalated. You have innocent children being killed without regard or worse, being orphaned and left to the refugee camps in other countries. Traveling as a kid with your parents is fun, but imagine being 12 years old and having to care for your brothers and sisters in a country you have never been before?

Worse, imagine the post traumatic effect these children are experiencing, having witnessed the conflict and bloodshed going on in their own home cities?

While an armed intervention does go against my own comfort zone regarding a response, these pictures give you an idea of why such an idea was tabled in the first place. It may be easy to refer to Syria as another Iraq or say that America simply wants the oil there, but one thing is certain, while Iraq turned out to possess fake weapons of mass destruction, Bashar Al Assad has them and is not afraid to use them on Syrians.

The threat of military intervention and the quick of thinking of Russia has led Syria to register itself with the United Nations ban on chemical weapons and allow inspectors to view all stockpiles. However, while this update shows a move in the right direction, one has to beg how valid it really is, when the only reason the Syrian government completed this request was to avoid being attacked by an international force. The very fact that it came down to threats show how light the weight of the United Nations really is, when confronted with an actual crisis. This is why it is very important to ensure that a proper response is applied, but even more importantly a proper precedent is set to deter future madmen from using these weapons without cause.

The final segment of this post is dedicated to Canada's response to the overall crisis. Lester B. Pearson is most likely rolling in his grave. While Canada has been known to be a peacemaker and humanitarian aid country, this crisis has shown the imperfection of our current government and the change that has secretly occurred in this country. Instead of offering to initiate or coordinate a humanitarian response for the millions of people currently displaced in Syria, our government simply issued an order condemning the actions while literally supporting our allies for an attack by not contributing any possible assets at all.

Syria has officially turned from civil war to political genocide and now is the time that we need to act properly and swiftly to avoid further needless deaths. The world always says never again, yet when Rwanda was burning under the genocide of millions, people were more content with O.J Simpsons trial, Darfur still burns with aspects of genocide, however the world has forgotten the people there. Syria is our chance to change things, to finally implement new policy that allows the international community to act when required, heck, the people in this country have launched a massive campaign for international assistance and all we have done is simply stand back and watch, something that we promised we would never do again.

In closing, the United Nations is still a viable and important institution for world peace and international organization. Syria has given the world an opportunity to not only remind ourselves how deadly our weapons can be, but also reorganize and improve. We need to take things seriously on the international level, because while it may seem unlikely that these types of weapons or conflicts can affect us at home, in today's world nothing is impossible. If we turn a blind eye on an issue occurring somewhere else, what happens when our ignorance allows that issue to grow and become an international crisis?

As always I thank you for reading my material and look forward to the future!

Friday, 13 September 2013

To Applaud Putin Or Brace For Another World War?

I was hesitant to write this, but after reading the recent letter addressed to the American people from Russian President Vladimir Putin, I had to issue an article in response.

Let me state something very clearly before continuing, I of all people seek the path that utilizes diplomacy over an armed response. I prefer to maintain a level of peace and leave the tanks and troops for self defense, however there comes a time when people need to understand that the peace currently being exhibited is no peace at all, but a spark that could easily grow into a flame.

While President Putin appears to be taking the side of peace and looking for an alternative to armed conflict, the reality behind his words is unfortunately the exact opposite. Putin is neither a hero nor enlightened by his recent letter to the American people. The New York Times might as well have labelled the letter Russian propaganda on Syria.

That is right, Putin is nothing more than a wolf dressed in sheep clothing. He is resisting any form of armed response against Syria, not because he has any care for the people being slaughtered or the orphans being created there, no, the only thing Vladimir Putin is worried about is the potential loss of a military ally and customer.

You have to understand that Putin is a character like Obama playing the game of politics. On the one hand, you have the Americans standing by their policy of pre-emptive strikes in the face of danger, while you have Putin keeping his allies in check, but also guaranteeing a customer remains to buy his weaponry. If Bashaar Al-Assad is killed by the rebels, Syria becomes a vaccuum state and Russia loses the guarantee of a buyer.

Why would the Syrian rebels even consider buying Russian goods, when Russia has done everything possible outside sending it's own forces in to wipe the rebels out for good?

The very possibility of losing a buyer is important, but what is worse for Putin is the possibility that a victory in Syria will prompt more actions in Chechnya and thus create a terrible distraction in the upcoming Olympic games. God forbid the rebel movement across the Middle East gains momentum and creates a further push for Democracy.  In a world of social media, the events occurring in Syria and it's outcome will spread rapidly to other groups and ultimately provide a confidence boost to other movements seeking similar ends.

It is actually quite funny, because during the Cold War, many countries experienced rebel uprisings from Socialists and Communists, while today...we see similar actions occurring, but for Democracy instead. Democracy has become the new system of equality in the world. The taste of freedom and education for people has created an unquenchable thirst and drives the movement overall.

I understand that if you do not really know much about Putin, it would be easy to accept his ideas as legitimate via pure ignorance. However, knowing how he treats different groups within his own country and more importantly how his own political track record has been marred by corruption and a dictatorship image itself, the ability to shake your head in agreement with Vladimir Putin becomes impossible. Just look at the Pussy Riot situation as an example of how Putin treats anyone outside the majority. Instead of dealing with the situation in a peaceful manner, the rock group was thrown into prison and left there. Not to mention, that being a homosexual in Russia is practically a death sentence.

If anything, the chemical weapons used in Syria may have even been provided by Putin, however the media has been shy on shedding light on this subject. How does a country like Syria even get its hands on chemical weapons, how did the rebels get their hands on the very same weapons?

Syria is a very complicated situation, as it has characteristics of a civil war as well as a political genocide, which makes the decision to act that much more difficult.

Unfortunately, Putin has taken advantage of gaining some international brownie points with his most recent letter and did so by taking a few shots at President Obama.

I would really appreciate hearing from you and getting an idea of how you feel about this recent letter and its importance regarding the Syrian conflict?

In closing, the Putin letter as I will term it is nothing more than a jab against Democracy from one dictator in defense of another. Syria needs assistance from the international community and taking the advice the letter provides may stop another armed conflict, but does nothing to resolve the situation and save Syrian lives. The assassin phrase is: "kill one man, save a thousand". Vladimir Putin's phrase is basically: Lets call it a civil war and do nothing for the people there, because in the end the rebels represent something different and that usually ends up being bad news.

Until Next Time!