Event Recap: Discussing Syria

“Syria is not just about Syria. What happens there doesn’t stay there.”

On March 17, WAC members and local students came together to listen to Mr. Andrew J. Tabler speak on “The Implications of Russia’s Military Intervention in Syria.” Mr. Tabler, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, brought us a refreshing take on the many effects of the conflict in Syria. His extensive experience living in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East as a journalist contributed to a unique and refreshing perspective.

According to Tabler, Russia’s approach to Syria stems from a concern that the United States’ involvement in the region focuses on Westernization rather than a concern with governance or liberation. The perception that the U.S. essentially sponsors revolutions has “unnerved” Russia and others.

Russia’s approach to these conflicts often align with the regimes in power: using military power to squash uprisings. We have seen this, of course, over the last several years in Syria. However, the interesting difference in Syria is that Assad’s unwillingness to cooperate fully has, in part, contributed to Russia’s pullback from the conflict.

“How do you make America credible again?”

Tabler’s commentary progressed to an analysis of how U.S. politics affect, and are in turn affected by, foreign policy and the country’s presence on the international scene. Political divisions, he says, have contributed in large part to the country’s diminished influence.

According to Tabler, the solution lies with the American citizenry: we must ask our politicians “the tough questions.” By pushing for a more realistic approach to foreign policy, perhaps we can improve our international presence and continue to promote international stability.

Mr. Tabler’s book, In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Syria, is available from Amazon.