provoke humanitarian calls to action in Syria because they allow more violence and torture to persist in the country. Overall, the American stance in Syria seems to be based around humanitarianism and democracy.
Shristie 9 Proxy War or Global Strategy? Both the involvement of Russia and the United States in the war, can be interpreted as confusing for some, due to the ambiguity as to why both nations are involved. Generally, given some of the theories, one might start to question whether both nations are in the midst of a proxy war, or if Syria just might be a strategical asset. The United States was initially involved in Syria due to humanitarian crises, its war on terrorism and helping the spread of democracy in an authoritarian state. While Russia on the other hand, became involved in Syria in order to combat the rise of extremism heightened by the Arab Spring, possibly rebuilding its foreign policy positions after the Cold war and protecting its access to the Port of Tartus. Both nations can benefit from the outcome of the Syrian Civil war by having trade relations and promoting the growth of the Syrian economy, thereby expanding its own as well. The most significant outcome is winning the Civil War, or at least having the side these nations are supporting to win. In doing so, either Russia or the United States can gain a significant position, in terms of foreign relations specifically with the Middle East. While all of the possible benefits for gaining control in the Civil War could be interpreted as strategical global planning, these benefits could also indicate a proxy war between the United States and Russia because of the impact of their control in the war. For instance, if either side were to pull out of the war, the other party would instantly gain majority control of the war, significantly affecting the results. Additionally, for both the United States and Russia, control over Syria could translate to having strong foreign relations in the Middle East, making the global influence of either country even more impactful.
Shristie 10 Another possible idea, as to why this civil war could be a proxy war, is rationale behind Russia’s entrance in the war. Russia’s claims about fighting extremism in Syria is contradictory because of Assad’s encouragement of it. For instance, during the Arab Spring there were reports of “Syrian regime releas[ing] a large number of Salafist radicals from Sednaya prison” (Hove), who then went on to become the leaders of the Islamic front, the Islamic State and Jabhat al- Nusra. Assad allegedly did this to make foreign involvement in the war difficult, as it would become harder for other nations, such as the United States to support the rebels. The releasement of the prisoners makes Russia’s support for Assad questionable, because while Russia is claiming to combat extremism, there is solid evidence proving Assad’s involvement with the rise of extremism, contradicting Russia’s values. One could infer that Russia continues to support Assad due to other more significant assets, such as the Port of Tartus or gaining a foothold in the Middle East, implicating the likelihood of a proxy war.
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- Spring '18
- Kimberly Coles & Glover
- Cold War