Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Syria is a Mess...and Ultrarunning

Some pretty good analysis below about why we should be careful in dealing with Syria.

Also, my particular question is why should we--meaning the United States--be the one to get all concerned about Syria?  This should be a conundrum for the United Nations, of which we are a member, not a unilateral response by one country.

Anyway, an excerpt via Hullabaloo.  You should go read the whole thing, it's short:

You see he gassed his own people with WMD and they might get into the hands of terrorists. We can't let the smoking gun come in the form of a mushroom cloud. We must disarm the tyrant because if we don't the terrorists will win. You know the drill. Very well. Too well.

The world is an ugly place full of injustice. If it were up to me, and I could pick countries to liberate, I can think of a half dozen off the top of my head, starting with Burma. But sometime in the last half century I learned that war is very rarely a good way to "help" people and that the motivations for waging it are always far more complicated than that. Moreover, I just don't think the US is a very good "humanitarian" empire. Even if you assume we have the best of intentions, the US just doesn't have the right political structure to be a benevolent hegemon. I'm not sure any nation state does.

It's a horrible, bloody mess in Syria and it's terrible to feel impotent in the face of horrible bloody messes. But considering the huge risk we take of making things even worse, there is no doubt that we must be extremely skeptical of calls for intervention. The US has a bad hubris habit and considering our hot war success rate of the past 50 years or so, we really should take a good look in the mirror before we act.
And, of course the (however tenuous) link to Ultrarunning?  Just a recognition or acknowledgement that we too often take our running freedom for granted here.  We can run any public trail we want and we don't have to be afraid of land mines or armed militias or regular troops or drones or Scud missiles.  We have rules and laws and a functional government, and by and large, things work rather well here.

Not so in Syria or any number of other places on the planet.


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