Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Viewpoints on Syria

There are a number of lenses foreign policy choices need to be looked at through, and one of them is surely morality. One fake morality opinion that I don't approve of is what I call the "all the kids are doing it" meme. Just because our country condoned, promoted, or practiced some immoral act in the past - chemical weapons, slavery, genocide - is no reason to tolerate it now. The human race has a sorry history, but seeking the lowest common denominator is not the way to go. Now I happen to think use of chemical weapons is evil, mostly because it is so indiscriminate and so much more effective against civilians than soldiers, probably even more evil than other weapons of war, but that's not the point. Such weapons are prohibited by international treaties on the laws of war, and if such laws are never enforced they lack effectiveness, but that's only part of the point. One part of the point is that if the use of such weapons is tolerated, that use is sure to become more common.

The main part of the point though, is that our President, wisely or unwisely, explicitly promised that we would not tolerate it. Despite serving as a convenient humor platform for Jon Stewart, credibility matters in the world, as in matters to the degrees that millions of lives may hang by it. Jon may think this is seventh grade stuff, but I'm afraid he is entirely too innocent of how the larger world works. International politics is a lot more like seventh grade than it is like a college philosophy seminar.