Crimea is gone: Show leadership over the Syrian crisis22 March 2014 Editorial Desk
US President Barack Obama has proven to be a weak candidate for the status of being a world leader as against Russia's policy of assertion and imposition when he failed to follow his words with deeds in stopping the genocide being committed by President Assad in Syria. Like in Crimea the power behind Assad is Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. The same policy of retaining Russia's international influence is on display in Crimea as it is being followed in Syria. But it was President Obama who said then that Assad would have to step down. That was an indication of bad leadership coming from the US President. Later all the resolve of President Obama to end Assad's crimes against humanity just faded out.It is Russia that is supplying the weapons and giving the protection of a major power so that Assad could defy international opinion and butcher the Syrian people. Not only that he has forced one-tenth of them to flee from their own country. They are living miserably as refugees in foreign places despite the fact that those Syrians were well-off people in their country. A new Hitler is protected instead of the lives of ordinary Syrians.In the words of the International New York Times: "it is not as if there is no evidence of Syria's ordeal which has killed almost 150,000 people. The Syrians have raised a sustained, collective cry for help from what is now history's most documented man made disaster." The Syrians rose up first in a peaceful movement against the brutal dictatorship of President Assad more than three years ago and their demand initially was not regime change. They wanted democratic reforms so as to have a voice in the administration of their own country. But Assad was uncompromising with the knowledge that Russia would be on his side all the way.Crimea is a gone case for the United States. America has no legitimacy to intervene in Crimea against the wishes of Crimean people. They have decided on a referendum to be part of Russia. Putin has signed the documents for annexation and no amount of sanctions from the US will be any check to this. One is not still sure about what the persistent European Union's response will be. The Western world is more eager to contain Russia from annexing Ukraine. America appears too anxious to do everything possible to restrain Russia from taking back what was once part of greater Russia although there is no hope of succeeding. But by not showing any muscle in its policy to save the Syrian people from the present-day world's worst violator of human rights it has sent a signal of America's hesitant leadership to Vladimir Putin.Those Syrians still inside are brutalized every day - the country having been turned into "a stage disaster and cruelty exists on a nearly incomprehensible scale" by the raging civil war that has followed in the absence of timely intervention by the leadership of the West. Syria is now falling apart.President Obama's wishful policy of no competition but cooperation between the United States and Russia has shown its impracticality in Crimea. America has the tools to fight on the side of the people for protecting the great cause of human rights and democracy, especially when another outside power is trying to achieve a political advantage.The emptiness left behind by the mistaken US policy of "light foot print" in an international crisis is being filled by the brutal forces of dictatorship. Many see the crisis of humanity in Syria as the result of self-imposed "limits of inaction" by America. It will be strategically right for America and its allies to focus on Syria and face the challenge posed by Assad and Putin together to maintain the values of the free world. It would not have been necessary for Syrians to suffer massacre and a massive exodus for this long on such a big scale. The ramifications of the civil war in Syria are acutely felt in the neighbouring countries. America does not need Russian help to deal with Iran. They behave responsibly without the prejudice fanned by some Israeli leaders. Let America conduct itself as the world's leader of hope for the oppressed people who are grappling with reckless authoritarianism to secure democratic freedom and human rights. Like Assad of Syria, dictators are getting outside help and intervention. America has to transform the fight against terrorism into the fight for democracy and human rights. The fertile ground for terrorism grows under the oppression of authoritarianism.