By Sawraj Singh
Western countries are making a lot of noise about the chemical attack in Syria. Without any solid proof, they have already blamed the Syrian government. This accusation brings back the painful memories of Western countries blaming Saddam for hiding weapons of mass destruction. This accusation was used as a justification for attacking Iraq. This attack can be called one of the biggest tragedies in modern history. However, no weapons of mass destruction have been found till today. This false western propaganda proved a blatant lie whose only purpose was to get rid of Saddam. The world is still paying dearly for this disaster in Iraq.
Western countries seem to be getting ready for another disaster of much bigger proportions in which not only Syria or the Middle East can be almost completely destroyed but it can endanger the whole world and the mankind. This time, it is not the West against a small country with a very limited capability to retaliate but is against a country which has more advanced weapons and bigger stockpile of nuclear weapons than any of them. We can imagine what will happen if Russia decides to retaliate.
Western motives for blaming Syrian government for the chemical attack are far clearer this time than they were in Iraq. You have to be extremely naïve or stupid if you do not understand that Western countries just want to get rid of Assad rather than any of their concern for the Syrian people. The Iraqi or the Libyan people can very well tell us about the genuineness of Western concerns for them. They had to pay very dearly for the Western quest to get rid of Saddam and Gaddafi. Their countries have suffered tremendous destruction because of the Western intervention. Nobody had the power to stop the West from intervening.
However, things are very different now. The West cannot get away doing anything it wants to do. It will have to face the consequences of its actions. If the West inflicts serious damage to Russia's friends and allies in the Middle East then Russia can inflict even more serious damage to American friends and allies not only in the Middle East but in Europe also. Is the West prepared to pay such price? I feel that in the last two centuries the West has mostly inflicted pain on the others and has received very little pain. Things are very different now. The West may have to suffer equal or even more pain than it inflicts. I feel that the West is still not prepared to endure pain and will fall apart if it is made to suffer the pain it has inflicted on the others.
The West should understand that times have changed. It has to think about the consequences of its actions, something it did not have to do in the past. The new situation demands that it should very seriously think before it acts. I still remember the ad put up by the by the Family Planning Department extolling the Virtues of restraint for birth control many years ago. It said "Loop before you leap." I will like to give the same advice to the West today "Think before you act".
The West should not escalate the conflict as the situation can get out of control. Both sides do not want the situation to escalate to a full blown war between Russia and the West. However, once the armed conflict starts then it will be very difficult to contain it. The West seems to be considering a limited missile attack on Syria. Russia seems poised to shoot down the missiles. However, Russia is also considering retaliation against the target from which the missiles will be launched. Moreover, either side can accidently escalate the conflict. The West should think of these catastrophic scenarios before exerting any military option. The West should also learn from its experiences in Iraq and Libya. In both cases it did not gain in the long run. Very few people in the West now seem to think that going in Iraq or Libya was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, we cannot undo what was done there. However, we can prevent a similar or worse disaster in Syria. Let all sides show restraint and moderation.
Sawraj Singh M.D. F.I.C.S.
Chairman, Washington State Network for Human Rights
Chairman Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969