World News: Syrian War, An Example of Global Foreign Policy Failure

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The Syrian crisis is entering its eleventh year. Without the shadow of a political or diplomatic solution, it reveals above all the culpable inertia and procrastination of Western nations for the benefit of the Syrian regime and Vladimir Putin.

It is an anniversary that we would not like to have to celebrate. The Syrian civil war is one of them. And for good reason. Marked by thousands of victims and the criminal obstinacy of Bashar al-Assad convinced of his right, this conflict has now been gliding for ten years now in the Middle East, which has rarely been so fragile, also shaken by the pandemic.


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But beyond this never-ending war, the Syrian conflict also highlights all the culpable inertia and procrastination of the international community.

The latter, France in the lead, which has repeatedly shouted at the crimes committed by the Syrian dictator and his objective allies or circumstances, namely Islamic State and Russia, has mostly undermined by his inability to act collectively.

Put simply, the Syrian crisis revealed many of the shortcomings and diplomatic realities that many deliberately wanted to ignore. Among them, the limits of diplomacy and the French army, incapable of dialogue or by armed action to bend a Syria that would have, from a military point of view, represented a strong and most dangerous adversary if a major tactical deployment had been engaged.

Shipwreck and Interests

And the European Union has also sunk into the diplomatic wreck that is this Syrian crisis, also questioning the Union's capacity to cope in similar situations. Another element revealed by the crisis is the willingness of the United States to gradually withdraw from the theatres of operation where the lives of its armed forces would potentially have been at stake.


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This latent isolationism, based on the Monroe Doctrine (named after the President of the United States who initiated it in 1821) was not born under the mandate of Donald Trump, but under that of Barack Obama, in the aftermath of the Iraqi collapse.

At the same time, it was unimaginable for the United States or its Allies to arm the Syrian rebellion, preferring to avoid the risk of armed factions one day turning against their former friends, as was the case in Afghanistan when the United States armed the Taliban to fight the Soviet invader in the early 1980s.


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Finally, this crisis has also changed Russia's ability to reintegrate into the diplomatic and geopolitical scene by advancing its Syrian interests.

Mare Nostrum and Vaccines

The port of Tartus, a supreme and rather easy excuse put forward by the Russians to legitimize their interference in the conflict, was, and still is, for Vladimir Putin, the best way to tolerate Western nations by amputating a piece of their Mare nostrum that is the Mediterranean.


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Ten years of crisis have been enough to lay bare many of the flaws and fragilities of Western nations all the more glaring today, certainly in another register (and avoiding any gratuitous analogy), in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore worth imagining after Bashar al-Assad.

But, again, has another observation been necessary, a simple reflection on the question, let alone the answer, has it been initiated? Definitely in the silent and hushed cabinets of the chanceries. But for now, it is the issue of vaccines that dominates for compelling health questions. And as a reminder, the Syrian crisis is also a pressing health issue but above all humanitarian.

 

Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

 

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