Realpolitik in Syria



   The Syrian civil war took another complex turn when Bashar Al-Assad's Syrian regime begun to aid Kurdish fighters against Turkish advances in Afrin. Though pro-government forces have clashed with Kurds numerous times over the course of the Syrian civil war, it appears that in Afrin, the two forces are united by the common interest of stopping further Turkish encroachments into northern Syria.
     The Kurds, in return for Syrian logistical and humanitarian aid, have provided grain and oil to the Damascus regime, in a classic example of realpolitik. Even though the Syrian government and the Kurds have a fundamentally different vision for the future of Syria, they have realized that Turkey's advance poses a larger collective threat. As a result, the menacing Turkish advance in Kurdish-held Syria is rapidly slowing. Additionally, the partnership between Assad and the Kurds also has led to a mild partnership between the Kurds and Russia.
     Anyone who is now trying to divide the world into any coherent sense of "sides" has now been proven blatantly wrong. There is no Axis vs Allies like in WWII or any Soviet-American rivalry like in the Cold War. Instead, as the 21st century has marched on, we have seen more and more frequently that countries are now pursuing a totally independent foreign policy, unbound by any major concept of alliances. Sure, old friendships like that of India and Russia or of America and Canada will most likely remain. But, elsewhere, ideological dogma has been kept at a minimum when it comes to foreign policy decisions. China's state capitalistic atheist meritocracy has aligned itself with Pakistan's corrupt Islamic democracy, on the pure interest of containing India. Likewise, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq remain in a constant flux, with alliances frequently shifting based on common interest.
      America needs to learn that, in order to preserve NATO, it must set a clear goal for NATO. An alliance without shared interest cannot survive on a fundamental level. If America doesn't clarify NATO's role in the Middle East soon, the consequences may be dire.

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