December 14, 2018

Global Thinking: No good deed goes unpunished

This weekend I called my dad. He lives outside of his hometown, Tehran, Iran. We chatted about the typical topics: life, school, how I’m doing… the usual. My father is Iranian, making me an Iranian-American. This fact gives me a few stakes over the pond that more often than not, leaves my eyes glued to the news feed when updates on Syria come through.

I had to ask him what he thought should happen in Syria. Iran, an ally of Syria, stated they stand by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, so my father’s opinion peaked my interest. His response left me with more questions than answers.

He said that someone has to answer for the lives of innocent men, women and children.

People always say ‘if we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it.’ I think it’s a bit of a cliché thing to say, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t see any truth to it.

At one point, I felt the U.S. should back off to avoid the possibility of World War III. Peace and all that. But now it’s clear there is no simple answer in Syria. If the U.S. sits by and does nothing, what stops other nations from committing atrocities like Assad’s regime? If the U.S. stands for what’s ethically right, we could face a third World War.

Obviously, there is no simple answer to this situation. It’s a question of human rights versus prodding some of Syria’s allies in the wrong way. It’s a delicate situation to say the least, especially in the Middle East.

In our generation, the U.S. has been involved in one conflict or the other in the Middle East for over a decade now. Some would ask when is enough, enough? One could argue greed went into the past conflicts in the Middle East, but what is pulling America into this situation? President Barrack Obama’s red line? A basic respect for human rights? Threats on Israel? Instability to the region?

Realistically, the U.S. can take one of two positions: remain as what some people would call global police, or take a new isolationist approach. There are valid sides to each argument. How long can we go around imposing our beliefs; but on the other hand, how can a world power stand idly by as poison gas is used on innocent citizens by their government.

Again, no simple answer.

Whichever way congress leans, it will determine the future of our country and the state of the Middle East for years to come. We all have a reason to worry. Some would say this won’t directly affect our generation, but that is a highly optimistic outlook on the situation. One way or another this will hit home. Whether your home is America, Iran or Syria.

Webster University is a global campus. The university caters to a global community. So when students think about the situation in Syria, they should think of their fellow students. The Syria situation has the potential to cause a massive amount of damage to the stability of the Middle East, and possibly the planet.

It’s hard to say what is truly the ‘right thing to do.’ Is there an answer to the million-dollar question? I would say no. Some people seem to have it figured out, but it’s hard to buy into any solution when there is no good solution. Whatever decision the U.S. makes is its future.

But it’s also your future.

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