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Yes, Let’s Allow the Syrian People to Decide for Themselves
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Is common sense beginning to creep into US policy in the Middle East? Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the longer-term status of Syrian President Assad would be “decided by the Syrian people.” The media reported this as a radical shift in US foreign policy, but isn’t this just stating what should be obvious? What gives any country the right to determine who rules someone else? Washington is currently paralyzed by evidence-free rumors that the Russians somehow influenced our elections, but no one blinks an eye when Washington declares that one or another foreign leader “must go.”

It’s only too bad that President Obama hadn’t followed this back in 2011 instead of declaring that Assad had to go and then arming rebel groups who ended up being allies with al-Qaeda. Imagine how many thousands of lives and billions of dollars would have been saved by following this policy in the first place. Imagine the millions of refugees who could still be in their homes, running their businesses, living their lives.

Will the Trump Administration actually follow through on Tillerson’s Syria policy statement? It is too early to tell. The President has illegally sent hundreds of US troops to fight on the ground in Syria. Current US positions in eastern Syria suggest that Washington may be looking to carve out parts of oil-rich areas of the country for some kind of future federation.

The White House followed up on Tillerson’s comments by stating that getting rid of Assad was no longer a top priority for the US. This also sounds good. But does this mean that once the current top priority, destroying ISIS, is completed, Washington may return to its active measures to unseat the Syrian president? Neocons in Washington still insist that the rise of ISIS in Syria was due to President Assad, but in fact ISIS did not appear in Syria until the US began trying to overthrow Assad. They haven’t given up on their desire to overthrow the Syrian government and they do have influence in this Administration.

If the Trump Administration is serious about letting the people of Syria decide their fate he needs to take concrete steps. Rather than sending in more troops to fight an ISIS already on its last legs, he must bring US troops home and prohibit the CIA from further destabilizing the country.

It would also be nice if Congress would wake up from its long slumber and start following the Constitution. The President (and his predecessors) have taken this country to war repeatedly without proper Constitutionally-required authority to do so. The president has reportedly decided not to even bother announcing where next he plans to send the troops. Congress can rein him in with very little effort by saying no money can be spent to deploy US troops to areas where they may encounter hostilities unless a state of war is declared.

By all means, we should let the Syrian people decide who will be their president, even if they choose someone we don’t like. Syria was never a threat to the United States and the 2011 US intervention has destroyed the country. Interventionism has horrible consequences and no victories to show for itself. It is time for all the US troops to just march back home.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Syria 
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  1. If Trump was putting America first he would withdraw his legions and abandon his mercenaries in the Greater Middle East and North Africa. His actions indicate he has no intention of doing so. For this reason I am a former Trump supporter. I will not join his political enemies however. I am a straight white male. Trump’s enemies are my enemies.

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  2. Virgile says:

    Syria was never a threat to the USA but it was a threat to Israel as Syria and Iran were supporting Hezbollah, Israel’s Nemesis. Syria was also a threat to the GCC because Syria was the only ally to Iran during the 8 years war of Saddam Hossein against Iran. The Saudis knew Syria was Iran’s ally in the region. They worried that the Shiite doctrine was stopping the propaganda of the Wahhabi doctrine that has already poisoned Pakistan and Afghanistan from spreading to Syria and Lebanon.
    The neocons were behind Obama when he called for the toppling and they are still are trying to push Trump into the same path.

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  3. Trump sent mixed signals on foreign policy as it pertains to the curse of American Empire. He objected to the staggering waste and folly of nation building while our own infrastructure crumbled at home.

    But he was, for a supposedly “America First”, an “Israel even Firster” zealot. The demonization of Iran, the promise to defeat ISIS – hardly a Ron Paul non-interventionist. The most alarming thing to me though was the brazen support for both torture and seizing oil.

    Clinton would have been a disaster of historic magnitude, worse than Bush the Boy President. Cackling over the murder of Gaddafi, the recklessness and corruption – talk about someone completely out of touch… but we aren’t out of the woods with Trump.

    Regardless of the “longer term” comment by Tillerson, the fact is the current term is to ignore him while the US pursues its own war within his country. Assad has called us invaders.

    Actions speak louder than words, although it is sadly a milestone to hear any official from the USA backing the notion that other people have the right to determine their own government.

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  4. macilrae says:

    Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the longer-term status of Syrian President Assad would be “decided by the Syrian people.”

    And of course up until recently the US administration had been all set to make that decision on behalf of the Syrian people – applying the same wisdom as it did, for example, in Iran (1953), Chile(1973), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq(2003), Libya(2011) and Egypt (2013).

    Of course the Russians have been saying this from the beginning and, as Dr Paul says, it is a fundamental of democracy that each country really ought to be allowed to choose its own leader.

    In fact Assad really has a good chance of being re-elected too.

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  5. KenH says:

    Rawhead Rex’s pronouncement about Syria could change any day or if the Israel Lobby puts a lot of pressure on Trump and his lover boy (((Jared Kushner))) for regime change. More open ended military action in the Middle East isn’t acceptable to me. If they only plan on being there 6-9 months then will completely withdraw that’s one thing but this smells like permanent stationing of military garrisons in Iraq and Syria.

    Trump broke his campaign promises to get us out of these pointless wars and focus on domestic issues. Thus far his presidency has wrought:

    1) Lukewarm war with Russia
    2) Threats of war with China over the S. China Sea
    3) Possible war/nuclear war with N. Korea
    4) Special operations and bombing of various targets in the Middle East under the guise of fighting ISIS. This has been slowly escalating.

    I might be missing something as our political and military brain trust are always looking for more nations to invade and regime change. Nations MUST accept American style democracy (government by banksters and crony capitalists) and Israel. Or else.

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