I’m not sure what you mean by “ That might work in a fair and just world where every asshole gets his day in court . . . .” and “It does not work” and “this is just propaganda and I won’t pretend it isn’t.”
I’ll remind you of my initial response: The situation is complicated. And: sovereignty is a concept that is negated by gross violation of human rights — death camps, for example, or any systematic process of extermination of groups of people. In these cases, the moral world must intervene. People must be rescued from an unjust and horrific fate. That is a moral obligation. We are not allowed to do nothing.
Your saying it’s not complicated is essentially a dismissal of the moral imperative above. If you dismiss that out of hand, then it’s not complicated.
But you can’t dismiss it out of hand. If you are maintaining that sovereignty is a principle above all other considerations, then we can just appeal to sovereignty and forget about morality. But certain acts require the violation of the principle of sovereignty. There are more important things than sovereignty.
However, adding more complexity to the issue, at what cost does acting to stop inhuman acts come? That question poses a major dilemma.
Your response is that we don’t live in a perfect or moral world, so we should always do nothing. Let other leaders do whatever they want at whatever human cost, and we mind our own business. At least that’s the implication.
Do you really hold that view? Hard to believe.
First, I have made no judgment on the alleged chemical attacks. At this stage, I advocate nothing but thorough investigation.
Second, in the case of demonstrable atrocities perpetrated in any country, regardless of sovereignty issues, the world must respond with the end of stopping those atrocities. I think of Serbia, but also Rwanda — but there are other cases. Your article held the position that sovereignty is an inviolable principle that trumps (still a useful word!) all others.
I argue that sovereignty is a concept that is negated by gross violation of human rights. Then the moral world must if possible intervene. People must be rescued from an unjust and horrific fate. That is a moral obligation. We are not allowed to do nothing.
Syria. Again, did Assad attack civilians w. poison gas? I don’t know. But as per the principle above, if that did happen, some retaliation is justified. Someone must say to the victims (and to the rest of the world) that their victimization will not go unpunished. I wrote, “If any country had the power to remove Assad for above reasons it should.” But I followed that with this: “But what complicates matters is the inevitable deeper level of bloodshed and destruction caused by that venture.” And then this: “We are in a difficult moral stalemate. We want Assad removed from Syria, yet at the same time doing so could lead to worse atrocities. It is complicated.”
Morally, it is desirable that Assad be removed from office, but the logistics are possibly too high a price. This is the complexity of the problem. It is not as simple as you believe.
What I wrote does not advocate immediate action. But it does assert a principle that is not always workable: if the world or anyone can stop the killing of civilians they should — but not at the expense of greater slaughter.
Finally, regardless of the status of the chemical use in Syria, Assad’s practices reflected in the Amnesty report referenced in my original response have permanently delegitimized him. Eventually he must be held accountable for those crimes just as the Nazis were held responsible for theirs.
You are right to be suspicious of US motives. I have voiced my suspicions here:
Numerous pundits/commentators have interpreted the recent US strike on Syria according to their political persuasions.medium.com
Yet despite all the complications, the principle of aiding others in distress must be affirmed. Also the principle of holding political leaders to account.