Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Syria's Conflict: Moral or Financial Obligation?

The images filtering in from Syria are haunting. The civil war brewing over the past year has finally boiled over on our shores, especially with last week's announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry of alleged gas attacks of Syrian civilians by its own government.

In the media, the discussion is more along the lines of the US's rights to get involved in the war. On the ground, Americans are concerned about another drawn out war and the implications on the country. Let's face it, the US's credibility is just about shot right now after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government's intentions to wage war have been and continue to be questioned, and now we find this to be the case with Syria again. 

The Obama administration has been closely monitoring Middle East activity since the start if the Arab Spring. And with good cause, since the global economy is so interconnected and what affects the Middle East now affects us. We managed to stay out of those conflicts, mainly because the US enjoys a sound political relationship with the nations involved in the first wave of rebellion. But now Syria has emerged as a big problem, one that the US can't seem to ignore. Which is understandable, considering that the world's leaders have a moral obligation to interfere, even if it's with something as insignificant as a stern warning, when innocent civilians are being abused by their own governments. 

Once again, we have to evaluate the intentions though. The conflict in Syria had hit a dangerous level for sometime now, but we've been watching cautiously from the background. Talk of actual interference did not start surfacing until the markets started reacting to Syria's civil war. August has the worst reported market performance over the past year, and this past week stock indexes fell by nearly two percent. As the conflict in Syria escalates, the market is surely to continue reacting. Yet waging war on Syria should not be a market decision, but a moral one. Before we expend our resources once again to fight another war abroad, the Obama administration needs to genuinely evaluate its intentions to spare some lives and avoid another economic paralysis. Besides, Syrians deserve much more than insincere heroism. 

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