When Elephants Fight, It’s the Grass That Suffers

Laila Al-Soulaiman


Publicly, the United States positions itself as the world’s protector and enforcer of democracy. This role, however, is more preferential than universal — especially in the case of the developing conflict in Syria. As the policy has evolved along with the ever-changing dynamics on the ground, it is clear that there are inherent contradictions between the moralistic rhetoric of policy and the amoral empirical realities of policy implementation. U.S. government officials have publicly pledged their support of the Syrian people, called for the abdication of Assad, and stated that the use of chemical weapons is a red line that, if crossed, would provoke military intervention. The U.S., however, has delivered on none of these commitments. In fact, the administration’s foreign policy response to Syria has left many questions unanswered. On one hand, the lack of impactful initiatives to deter the bloodshed over the past five years makes it clear that the U.S. policy did not aim to do so in the first place. If the U.S.’s response to this crisis continues in its current form, and Assad’s regime continues, violence and repression will persist. To this end, democracy will be impossible in Syria, and those who will truly bear the burden of such inaction will be the people of Syria. What exact proposals in need of reversing this conflict are uncertain, but what remains clear is that the U.S. faces an impasse due to its irrevocable decisions, and whatever is to occur in the future will ultimately be decided by the will of the Syrian people. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ppr.2015.56


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