Syria: The Loser in a Superpower Showdown
While the United States, Russia and China are trying to both reach a multilateral agreement regarding the Syrian saga and palisade their unilateral influence in the Middle East, another 151 people just on Thanksgiving Day have lost their lives in the showdown between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the opposition forces in the country. In statistical terms, these 151 civilians represent a mere drop in the bucket of 50,000 casualties which the war-torn nation has endured in its two-year fight to determine its political future. As a matter of politics, however, the recent loss of innocent lives only underlines the exorbitant cost which the languor of the international community and the inefficiency of diplomatic organizations, such as the UN, accrue to mankind.
The perturbing detail in Syria’s case is that while the more affluent and mighty nations of the world could act to discontinue the systematic bloodshed in the country, they prefer to keep their hands crossed and turn a blind eye to the ongoing carnage because reconciling all individual interests is, of course, impossible without concessions. Beijing has, as usual, put its perfunctory diplomatic smile on and given off hardly any clear position: why not maintain neutrality and watch the Syrians lynch each other so long as after the slaughter we can be on good terms with everyone who happens to be in power? Russia has made it cynically clear – Syria buys our weapons and the al-Assad regime is an ally, so why risk an expedient status quo for an invasion which could upset the political balance and favor the West? The United States has taken the initiative for an operation in Syria, but with an ally like Europe, which is almost always, and especially now, more concerned with its domestic affairs, and opponents like Russia and China, American attempts to intervene are bound to miscarry, unless a miracle à la 1950 (in 1950 the Security Council approved the American intervention in Korea as the USSR, angry with the American recognition of Taiwan instead of the PRC, was absent from the meeting) somehow happens.
The UN Security Council should hardly even be mentioned. Incapacitated since its very inception, it has once again proven to be as effective as its individual members allow it to be – in short, nothing more than a multilateral smokescreen for bilateral politics – and also in dire need of do-or-die reforms. As it is currently arranged, the Council is doomed to fail so long as the world powers are held spellbound by their own agendas. The only problem with these dragged-on quasi-attempts to reach consensus is that the Syrian people are still waiting for a hand while the international community is playing an ugly game: the predatory individual interests of its constituents have been protracting a conflict in which too many civilian lives have fallen prey to the blood-thirsty regime of clinging al-Assad.