Not So Fast on Syrian Intervention

We might cause more problems than we fix: Henry Kissinger
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2012 8:43 AM CDT
This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network shows a Syrian rebel shouting slogans after the bodies of factory workers were found in Homs.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

(Newser) – Henry Kissinger thinks the US and the world should slow down any movement toward military intervention in Syria. In a Washington Post essay, he raises a series of questions about this type of "humanitarian intervention," a doctrine he says has emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring movement. "Does America consider itself obliged to support every popular uprising against any non-democratic government, including those heretofore considered important in sustaining the international system?" he asks, using Saudi Arabia as a potential example.

Any military intervention, whether for humanitarian or more traditional "strategic" reasons, needs two things: a consensus on what government replaces the one being deposed and an "explicit and achievable" political objective. "I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests," writes Kissinger. "In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath." Read his full essay here. (Read more Syria stories.)

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