America can save Syria

Published 12:49 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

This article was written in the shadow of Hurricane Matthew, awaiting its arrival on our eastern coastline.

Some would propose that American exceptionalism is how to describe our military and economic dominance on the planet, but that is far more a derivative of our form of government and of our geography.

What better describes American exceptionalism is our historical embrace of helping others, whether in recovery of a hurricane, preventing the spread of disease or protecting the helpless from starvation and attack.

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By early next week, we will know just how damaging Matthew has been to the U.S., Cuba, the Bahamas, and Haiti. And in the U.S., we will have already mobilized for life-saving response and our people will move quickly to begin re-building lives and restoring property.

We will help each other, work side by side and care not at all if the woman at our side is Republican or Democrat.

We will apply all of our resources and people from across the nation will come to help, while others will donate money and necessities to their fellow Americans. And we will also reach beyond our shores to Haiti, yet again damaged by the destructive power of a hurricane, and to the Bahamas, and maybe even offer help to Cuba, should they accept.

For this is American exceptionalism.

In the heat of a hard-fought and deeply dividing presidential election we have all too often forgotten that we are all Americans, bounded more together than pulled apart by true exceptionalism; our compassion for others, our willingness to help regardless of politics.

Let us then, be reminded that America must still recognize when war tilts to genocide, as it has in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where over 300,000 innocent civilians face death and starvation from the war crimes undertaken by the Assad regime and the Russians.

The people in Aleppo have had their hospitals bombed, their bakeries destroyed, their water supply threatened their food lines attacked.

The people of Aleppo are women, children and civilians, and they are the targets of the war criminals justified in killing Syrians en mass, to save Syria.

And while the world absorbs those fortunate enough to escape the genocide in Syria, ISIS gets all the attention for their attacks, while the Russians and Assad kill eight times more innocent people.

The U.S. should turn to the U.N. to have this genocide declared for what it is, and the Assad regime and its Russian allies declared war criminals. If Russia uses its Security Council veto to prevent the declaration of genocide, then a vote should be taken, with 2/3 required, to expel Russia from the Security Council and from the U.N.

The U.S. should then place anti-missile technology, as Russia is doing in Syria, in Ukraine and consider Ukraine for membership in NATO immediately. We should identify further economic sanctions against Russia.

Finally, under U.N. and NATO authority, the U.S. and its allies should declare Aleppo a no fly zone and enforce that zone with international forces in the air and from ground — launched support if necessary.

The International coalition should change its focus from ISIS to the Assad regime, and end the genocide sooner rather than later.

American exceptionalism is not just about our giant economy, our advanced technology or our powerful military, but about our humanity. Our exceptionalism is about helping the helpless, whether they face the ravages of nature, the fear of disease, or the brutality of those who willfully kill innocents.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.