The heart-wrenching photos of decimated villages, streams of refuges flocking in all directions throughout the Middle East and Europe, and the poignant photo of a small boy, face-down, dead on the beach has struck a cord for many people. As they should.
There are consequences for inaction. We live in a global world, each part interlocked and dependent upon the other for a variety of needs whether that be oil, labor, or a myriad of other resources. Geo-politically, both action and inaction on behalf of a government will be met with criticism. When a country, such as Syria, has been hanging in the balance for years, hindsight about whether the world should have acted earlier begins to kick in, and we begin to see that either way there will be consequences. If, for example, the U.S. had decided to take an active role in over-throwing Assad’s Syrian regime during the heady-days of Arab Spring, how would that have changed the outlook for these scared and hopeless refuges of today? Of course, no one knows. That would have created a whole myriad of other issues.
All we know is the now, and the now is riddled with difficult questions. Syria is a divided mess to say the least. The Assad regime has committed horrible atrocities in trying to rid the country of the rebels. And under the nose of the Syrian Civil War, ISIS has emerged as a ruthless and brutal threat to both Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan.
The blame game is a useless endeavor at this point. Does it really matter which actions or inactions of the past caused this mess? Would things have been different if U.S. troops had remained in Iraq? Would things have been different if the world body had put pressure on Assad’s regime? Would an active role in Syria, such as was accomplished in Libya in removing Qaddafi, had made a difference? Whatever the answer to those questions, this we know: thousands of refugees from Syria need help. Europe and America need to step up and do the right thing (because we all know that Russia and China are not going to help).
Sadly, the plight of refugees is not isolated to that part of the world. The Rohingya people from Myanmar have been being pushed out of their own land for years, some left floating aimlessly in the Andaman Sea. But there are many others: Sudan, Somalia, and other places housing countless refugees from various conflicts and natural disasters.
It’s time to put an end to the refugee crises around the world. The land is there. The resources are there. It’s time for everyone to step up and show the kind of love and helping hand that these people deserve. I hope the world will do the right thing.
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is grim. Many lives will be lost in Syria and Iraq as long as the civil war continues and ISIS is allowed to expand. The prospect of stopping both of them is not a welcome proposition by any means. Military involvement by any party will mean the loss of life, and that can never be minimized. But it is also painfully obvious by the current situation that there are consequences for inaction and sometimes these may even out-weigh the most hawkish of options.