My view of the issues surrounding Syria is more pragmatic (when I compare it to the call to prayer issued by Pope Francis). I see that the US (and the rest of the G20 countries contemplating to side with it) is the powerful and mightier one and whatever decision it arrives at on its own against Syria will go down as skewed.
I’m a parent and I’m aware of the power and advantage a parent has over his or her young child. There are times that the child goes all the way to “test” a parent’s patience and the parent is tempted to take it all out on the child. But then the wiser parent will remember to breathe and count to ten, good time enough to think up a better way to handle the situation. The wiser parent will remember that the best interest of the child should shape how the situation is to be handled. This implies that the parent knows his or her child and equally knowledgeable of methods and tools utilized in positive discipline.
Similarly, because of power imbalance, the wiser question in the case of Syria is, what action by the global community is in the best interest of Syrians? Air strike by the US will appear as no better than the killing of locals allegedly by Assad using chemical weapons. No better because the victims will surely be locals again. Assad and his supporters would have bunkers with 24/7 coffee service and hot water to duck into but the average Syrian?
This brings me to my second point: relevance and legitimacy of intervention by the global community in national affairs.
A new rule is emerging from recent national crises such as what happened in Libya. Citizens had no or little say. Changing their oppressive government was their responsibility, their script, stolen from them. Whereas, the US (and UK among others) worked hard on their own to achieve the freedom they enjoy now and their people take happy pride in that, which is what it should be. So for Libyans, they were in a way deprived of that liberty, the choice over their collective future.
For outside intervention to be effective, relevant, and legitimate, local citizens should first appeal for outside help. This is what I think is emerging from the Arab Spring. This implies that citizens are aware of the situation in their country and the options available to them. If they decide to try and handle the situation on their own, well, in fact they should. If after doing their best, the situation is no better then calling in outside help may have come. But how do citizens go about calling for outside help, as one?
Times are calling for CSOs to fulfill their “destiny”. The UN came about as an offshoot of the two world wars. But the UN does business with governments of the world. The dilemma in this set up is what to do when representatives of governments do not really represent the views and desires of the people? Because of the set up citizens of member countries are largely kept out of the decisions and actions emanating from its glorious halls. Citizens are merely at the receiving end. In such cases, the UN, more often than not, did not help rebalance the power. The time for a global CSO (i.e. apart from the UN) has come.
The global community, the US and the rest of the superpowers who genuinely desire to assist Syrians need to find a way to connect to the people. What do they want to happen now? How do they want to be assisted? Obviously Syrians need to wake up to the ugly truth that is their government now and decide. That is real sovereignty, freedom, and liberty at work. People don’t need God to tell them this. I think and I dare imagine that God would rather have people get up from their kneeling positions, shake the fog out of their heads, and get to work before it’s too late. It can be done. History provides models: the US, UK, France. One thing is common though, freedom comes with a price and the more oppressive the situation the steeper the price to be paid. The only question now is, are the people willing to?