letters | crisis in syria

Our presence would only widen war in the region

Nicholas Burns’s June 5 op-ed, “US is Syria’s only hope,” was very disturbing. Burns writes that the military advances of Bashar Assad’s regime should be a “wake-up call” for the United States, Israel, and other allies, which could become “big losers in this Middle East power play.” Notice that Burns places the interests of American power and influence, not the interests of peace, as the motivating force as he goes on to argue why the United States should act militarily. He doesn’t seem to mind playing out global power politics on the soil of innocent Syrian people.

How myopic to suggest any form of increased US military involvement in the Middle East at a time when everybody knows better. Burns presents the absurd notion that our involvement would help “prevent a wider regional war.” Excuse me, but wouldn’t this actually be precisely that widening?

Like Burns, President Obama wishes for a certain outcome of this war — that Assad would fall — but the president has not leapt so quickly to the logic of military solutions. He has patiently dedicated humanitarian and diplomatic resources to that end, recognizing that our wishes are not to be achieved at all costs.


Obama places the interests of world peace ahead of those of American power and influence. I trust this wisdom.

William Wooding