Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: Colin Powell advises US to avoid taking sides in Syria

By Ken Hanly     Aug 26, 2013 in Politics
Washington - With the agreement among the US, the UK and France that there was a chemical attack by the Syrian government in Damascus, some retaliatory blow against the Assad regime seems more and more likely.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a recent interview took a position on Syria that is far outside the mainstream of most US discourse on the issue and certainly within the Republican Party except for perhaps a few libertarian-leaning politicians. In the first place, Powell appreciates the limitations on the ability of the US to influence events even with its obviously huge military powers. Powell claims that the situation in Syria is simply beyond the power of the US to influence to any major extent. Personally, I think he is wrong about that, but it is refreshing to hear a major US personage admit there are limitations on the power of the US.
Unlike, many US commentators who concentrate on demonizing Assad while downplaying the opposition faults, or alternatively noting that the US supports the good opposition, the Free Syrian Army and National Coalition, not the bad opposition, the Nusra Front and other militant groups, Powell describes the two sides as "too shaky" for the US to effectively take sides. Of course the US has taken sides counter to this advice.
Powell says: "In both Egypt and Syria, America has to take a much more clever role, We shouldn't go around thinking that we can really make things happen."
Powell advised the US to wait for the war to be settled and then intervene to help with recovery. He does not seem to think that either side in the civil war is worth US support:
"I have no affection for Mr. Assad. I've dealt with him. I know him. And he is a pathological liar, with respect to my interaction with him. But at the same time, I am less sure of the resistance. What do they represent? And is it becoming even more radicalized with more al-Qaida coming in? And what would it look like if they prevailed and Assad went? I don't know."
No doubt many in the US administration have the same doubts about the outcome, yet the Obama administration is firmly fixed on a course of regime change even though the results of regime change could be a long-lasting disaster for the US.
Almost 60 per cent of Americans oppose direct US intervention in Syria and only 9 per cent think that Obama should act. More Americans would support intervention if it were found that Assad used chemical weapons. However, still only 25 per cent would favor intervention and 46 per cent remain opposed. The poll was was taken between August 19 and August 23. This is actually a decline in support for intervention from an earlier poll.
However, it will probably be the president who alone will decide whether to intervene in Syria and signs are that he will. The people are not fit to decide these issues only to elect commanders in chief who often act counter to the majority will.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Colin Powell, US intervention in Syria, Chemical attack in Syria
More news from
Latest News
Top News