President Obama might have already achieved more for peace and stability in the Middle East than he is actually aware. The public debate on the Syrian Civil War and a possible U.S. strike on the Assad regime has shown that public opinion strongly favors non-interventionism to the neo-conservativism of recent history. More than a decade of warfare and U.S.-led interventions in the Middle East have illustrated that the use of U.S. military in troubled areas does not necessarily lead to stability and peace.
After a bloody decade-long occupation of multiple countries in the Middle East, the emergence of new terrorist groups, and the disaster in Benghazi, two lessons from the past ten years should be that we aren’t able to predict the unintended consequences of war and that “limited” military campaigns rarely actually come with limits.
Syria can become the tipping point for U.S. foreign policy and the international reputation of the United States. Congress has the chance to show the virtues of western democracy by blocking the President’s war efforts, retiring the agenda of hawkish politicians such as Senator McCain, and keeping the Syrian crisis in the political realm. By doing so, Congress would herald the start of a non-interventionist era of U.S. foreign policy.
In the end, we all just might be glad for having had a president who was too determined to go to war.
Alexander McCobin is a Young Voices Advocate.