- Mark Lavie
US pulling troops out of Syria, Israel shudders-but why?
Here’s my answer to the panic-mongers who are warning of everything up to and including the destruction of the Jewish state because of the pullout of the small US military contingent in Syria.
Here’s the beginning:
The US evacuation of military forces from Syria is a grave threat to Israel, so we hear.
Another reason to be afraid, right?
Wrong. Here’s a link to my new book, titled “Why Are We Still Afraid?” So you see where this is going.
(Read more on the New York Jewish Week website)
The article concentrates on the effect, or lack of it, of the pullout on Israel’s security, but I’ve been writing about the larger issue for years.
“When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” That accurately describes the American military-first response to every challenge on the international scene. It’s completely misguided.
Will Syria fall under the influence of Iran and Russia? Yes, what’s left of it. Look at the map. Syria shares a border with Iran, and Russia is not far away. So their hammers will always be more effective than American hammers.
That’s not to say that the US should just pack up and leave the region. Quite the opposite. The civil war that has devastated Syria has displaced millions of people–about half the nation’s population are either refugees or internal refugees. Entire cities have been laid waste. The US is not to blame for that, but the US can and must lead the humanitarian aid effort to clean up the mess and rescue the people. It would cost a fraction of the military mission, and it would help repair the tattered image of the US in this region.
It’s a major challenge, directing rebuilding and distributing aid, without the resources falling into the wrong hands.
So the US, and the West, need a new definition. Forget the nail. Make a breadbasket, or whatever metaphor you want, that will direct the same energy, the same expertise, and same commitment to humanitarian aid efforts that the US has committed over the past decades to its hammer.
That would create a positive difference instead of creating more and more death and destruction.