Syria: An Alternative to War

For the past six years, the world has watched the civil war in Syria turn a prosperous and beautiful country into a wasteland of destruction akin to what you find in post-apocalyptic movies and video games.  Discussion about what to do, how outside countries and people can and should respond, swirl through the ethos as more and more Syrians die.

Before and After: Hotel Carlton Entrance
From Olympia Restaurant

Bashar al-Assad, 2015
from Wikipedia
After the recent chemical attacks on the town of Khan Shaykhun, President Trump ordered a retaliatory strike against the Syria government's Shayrat Air Base.  While it made a statement at that moment, Syria's president Bashar al-Assad bombed Khan Shaykhun again less than 48 hours later.

Nothing seems to have been accomplished by the missile strikes.

So is there something else that can be done?

There are more options that either to attack or not to attack.  A little bit of negotiating can go a long way, as can diplomacy.  First, we need to ask ourselves what we want.  Is it more important to stop the civil war and save human lives?  Or is it more important to punish President Assad?

I believe it is more important to save human lives.  But President Assad has proven time and again that he is not just stepping down.  Clearly, someone needs to do something about the situation.  The U.S. is not on speaking terms with the current Syrian government.  But you know who is?

Russia.

An American diplomat (or other government representative) could speak privately to Vladimir Putin and tell him that the war in Syria has gotten out of control, and that the U.S. wants Assad gone.  Then arrange for Russia to offer Assad and his family asylum in exchange for something Putin wants - to look powerful on the world stage.

Publicly, go to the United Nations and tell Russia that someone needs to intercede in Syria and take out Assad.  Russia can respond with "no but we will remove him and give him asylum".  The U.S. can throw a fake fit, but Putin can stand strong.  Assad gets removed; Putin wins points; and the U.S. doesn't have to take more military action.  Instead, we can help the Syrian people rebuild.

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