Syria and the American Elections

Syria and the American Elections

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


After all this jockeying between the U.S. and Israel over whether, when, and who should or ought to attack Iran, it looks like Syria may well be the much more relevant matter for discussion in the days ahead. With less than three months before Election Day, at this point it seems that there is a far greater likelihood for a confrontation between the West and Syria/Iran/Hezbollah than over nuclear weapons in Iran. The potential political mischief and the horrific human tragedy that could be committed if the chemical and biological weapons get into the hands of radical Islamists or the Iranians or Al Qaeda represents a potential regional danger that no one appears to have any idea how to address.  The question is whether anyone can even attempt to contain these weapons before they are either used or find their way into dangerous hands. Whereas until now the chemical and biological weapons have been under the control of the Assad Government, as the situation gets even more dire, these weapons could be acquired by various militant forces and differing radical groups. All of this, of course, is assuming—and it is an enormous assumption—that Assad will whimper out and not exit with an enormous bang himself.

If this confrontation evolves as the fall campaign is in high gear, the Romney forces will face the staggering challenge of how to conduct a campaign just when the President (and the nation)  may be totally consumed with the most difficult set of immediate foreign policy decisions that the country has faced, perhaps since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Assad may have lasted for almost 18 months in trying to repress his people, but as the noose appears to be tightening now around Aleppo and Damascus, no one ought to wager where the power will lie on November 6.

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