After many years on this earth, a person can speak about history from experience, as opposed to learning about it in a textbook. In my 50-years on this earth I remember watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in my parents bedroom as a four-year-old. I remember Watergate. I vividly remember watching our brave men and women return to the United States from Viet Nam, only to be ridiculed and scorned. Our Viet Nam Vets were and are heroes. Then came the Russian War in Afghanistan. Most Americans favored supporting the side fighting Russia because Russia was our arch rival, Commies. Now it too had it’s Viet Nam. Losing thousands of soldiers only to withdraw without victory.
At that time, I wrote a strongly worded paper stating that instead of fighting against the Russians, our Cold War enemies, we should help them defeat the Afghan rebels as they were not the “good guys”. And despite the fact that we were a country of people filled with fear of Communism, they were intelligent, had a stable government, and were no threat to us at that time. Needless to say, my Professor didn’t like the premise and I did not do well on the paper. Of course we went on to help the Afghans drive the Russians out of Afghanistan and helped the person who would eventually plan the 9/11 attacks on this great nation.
Fast forward to Syria today. Again, we are faced with a similar dilemma. What should we do in Syria? After all, despite the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists, there are still those in power who see Putin and Russia as a grave and serious threat. But it’s time to finally think outside the box. It’s time to open our minds. Putin and the country he represents ARE NOT a threat to the United States. While it’s true that Putin has carried out some questionable actions, most recently annexing Crimea, it’s his battle to wage. That’s his backyard and we need to stay out of it. The Ukraine is an independent country and they need to take whatever measures are available to it, to end the hostilities.
Syria is a very different case than the Ukraine. While no fan of Assad, the alternative is no better, as we have seen in Iraq. There are no “good guys” in Syria just as there were no good guys all those years ago in Afghanistan. And if the Russians wish to become engaged there, let them. Not only that, we should support them for the following reasons; 1) Assad, although a dictator and no friend of Israel, was western educated and did keep Isis and various rebel forces in check. 2) If the Russians are willing to put boots on the ground why should we be opposed to that? Let their soldiers risk their lives. Too many American lives have been lost already in that part of the world. 3) If Assad was to be ousted from power, the group or groups who would fill that vacuum would be no friendlier to the U.S. or Israel. In fact, they would be far more dangerous than Assad. How this could not be clear to President Obama and his cabinet, is beyond my comprehension.
It’s time for our leaders to become less close minded and short-sighted. The world has changed. Communism is dead!! Russia and the United States have far more in common than we do differences. Hopefully the next leader of this country will see that and change what has been a failed policy for decades.