Commentary: Let reason prevail on Syria intervention

By Lu Yu

BEIJING, (PNA/Xinhua) — As the U.S. Congress returns from recess Sunday to ponder President Barack Obama’s request for authorization to strike Syria, it is high time to let reason prevail over recklessness.

Obama and his aides have launched an all-guns-blazing campaign to lobby for support both at home and abroad. The U.S. president even brought the topic to last week’s G20 summit, which was supposed to focus on shoring up the world economy.

However, the case the Obama administration is making for armed intervention in Syria does not hold up. For starters, facts remain unclear about the alleged chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21 outside Damascus, the very grounds for Obama’s planned “punitive” strikes.

Even France, which emerged as Washington’s staunchest supporter for military intervention, has indicated that no action should take place before UN experts investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons release their report.

The American public is not buying either. Still reeling from the string of wars the United States has launched in recent memory, especially the falsely justified Iraq War, they have become as clear-headed about the efficacy of force as weary of the use of it.

Although Obama has defined his planned strike as limited both in time and in scope, its consequences are far from clear and definite. Syria and the Middle East at large are already a powder keg with a short fuse burning.

What is more significant is that Congressional authorization is no warrant for Syria intervention. Only the UN Security Council has the authority to mandate such action.

Any use of chemical weapons is a gross violation of international law, so is any use of force against Syria without UN backing. The international community should reject both kinds of behavior.

Besides, no permanent solution to the Syria crisis would be possible without the broadest possible international support. Of that the United Nations is the only likely cradle.

As a permanent member of the Security Council with an unparalleled leadership role in world affairs, the United States shoulders the innate responsibility to honor the UN Charter and abide by international norms.

Using the world body a la carte will only erode the foundation of the edifice of international relations and undermine future efforts to cope with global challenges.

Thus U.S. lawmakers should keep their heads cool in the heat of Obama’s lobbying blitz and Syria’s ongoing crisis. They need to remember that a spark is more than enough to start a wildfire.