The tragedy that is the exodus of refugees from the Middle East to Europe in recent weeks has already claimed first-order policy concerns from Europe’s capitals. Branded as the ‘worst migrant crisis since World War II” the situation has been blamed on innocent people leaving from ‘war, oppression, and economic uncertainty.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that although the nationalities of the refugees are mixed, Syrians comprise the biggest number of fleeing people for safety into Turkey and the rest of Europe.
Now that the refugee situation has reached European shores and cities, Western imperialist powers have started to claim that the crisis would not have been this appalling if not for American inaction and avoidance of the use of military force. For instance, in an op-ed piece featured in the American government-sponsored New York Times, the author maintained that “American non-interventionism can be equally devastating, as Syria illustrates. Not doing something is no less of a decision than doing it.”
Such a statement clearly smacks in the face of the Syrian refugees fleeing their country, where their plight can be directly blamed on Western policies that created those ‘moderate rebels’ who have been stubbornly but openly funded by the United States, as a result of Obama’s interventionist policy on Syria. On the one hand, it is interesting to observe that the increase in refugees fleeing the region has coincided with the intensification of NATO’s bombing of ISIS positions in the country. The civil war has been waging for close to 5 years now, and yet this is the only time when the number of people fleeing has reached record levels.
As tragic as it is, this is as a result of the United States’ policy of “Assad must go.”
Back in 2011, when euphoria for the so-called Arab Spring was at its zenith, Western capitals hailed it as the arrival of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ to the common peoples of the Middle East, who finally ‘awakened’ to the decades-old tyranny of their ‘despotic’ leaders. In their minds, without sending boots on the ground to topple the region’s dictators, the citizens of these countries have chosen to pursue a peaceful path to a better future. Fast forward to today, and the grim horrors of that triumphalist ‘idealization’ continue to disappoint.
In late 2013, the same strategy of playing the emotional card was employed, when Western media outlets quickly blamed the chemical weapon attacks on the Syrian government, where scores of people where shown to have died as a result. Evidence has since shown that the chemical weapon attack came from the ‘moderate rebels’ whose aim was to use it as a pretext for American military intervention (again), but this time in Syria.
In the past few weeks, American policy makers and their Western European counterparts have been escalating the drumbeat on yet another attempt at bringing boots on the ground to fight Bashar Al Assad, but this time seizing upon the refugee crisis and the supposed “Russian involvement’ inside Syria.
Directly or hidden, Washington’s involvement in Syria is undeniable: from Obama’s ‘responsibility to protect’ excuses to the issuance of no fly zones and now the bombing of extremists which it helped create in the first place. Here’s a stimulating point to think about: as the self-proclaimed defender of ‘freedom’ and ‘humanitarian’ nonsense, what if the United States actually did more for the Syrian people?
What if the United States actually helped the Syrian people by taking in more refugees than, say, Germany and Sweden, both of which have taken in the most number of refugees in continental Europe? Germany alone is expected to receive 800,000 refugees this year. In comparison, the United States has just accepted 1,500 Syrian refugees since the war broke out in 2011, a fact that has caused disdain from many, including from the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
On the contrary, Western media outlets were quick to blame ‘gateway countries’ like Hungary for being lukewarm to this humanitarian catastrophe. Nowhere in the mainstream news media can you hear the role played by the West in perpetuating this suffering, so much so that quietly, those responsible (UK and the US) are contemplating bombing Syria even more.
Regardless of their final decision to bomb Syria into extinction, it is clear that where Western involvement is concerned, the results are nothing short of devastating. What happened to the Middle East in the past five years alone is vindication of the unintended consequences of projecting a dying unilateralism in an age of choice.