This Sudden Refugee Attention Totally Misses the Point

If you can recall, two summers ago we nearly put boots on the ground in Syria due to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. President Obama had said previously that the use of chemical weapons was a line that if crossed, would have serious repercussions. Everyone, at this point, had an opinion about Syrian involvement. In case you are not aware of the reason there are Syrian refugees, it is because there was a protest against Assad’s government. Assad responded with force, and the result were “rebels” fighting against Assad. The rebels, however, were not a specific group, and more of an abstract movement. Furthermore, Russia, in opposition, gave aid to Bashar al-Assad and his government. While some aid was given by the US to the rebel groups, there was no evidence to what effect it had, and if the US really made a difference. In fact, the US gave $385 million between 2012 and 2013. While this was happening, many were opposed to the idea of getting involved with the military in another Middle East quarrel. The United States stepped aside, and the result was less media attention, but still a strong migration of Syrian citizens away from their country. This refugee problem, although now trending on social media, is not new, and really, people are missing the point completely.

Now, the focus for many people is refugee aid. They want their country to show how open and accepting they are of other countries and different cultures to allow families a safe place. While this of course, is important, the real issue is the growing threat of radical Islam, and the failure for stable governments to recognize its real threat and find a solution. Furthermore, many of these families would much rather live in their own homes and have peace in their country. As people emigrate, the strength of the corrupted governments in countries, such as Syria, grows stronger. This also shines another spotlight on immigration, as refugees who travel to different countries will most likely not leave, and here we have another set of people who want citizenship.

While this is a media phenomenon at the moment, it is important for people to remember what caused tragic images such as a toddler boy, drowned, face down on the beach. It has a lot to do with foreign policy, and it has a lot to do with politicians and how they react to bills passed that aim to keep the peace. To say support refugees but not support military involvement completely contradicts itself. There are consequences to lack of action, and this could not be more apparent than right now as the media shines a spotlight on this crisis. We could accept every refugee from these countries, and the conflict would still not be resolved. Furthermore, for those against the military but for refugee aid, the two ideas contradict each other. If you believe the United States should step up after the action as a leader, the same construct applies to the preventative measures from this same type of leadership.

Although politics has always been more reactive than preventative, when something like this happens, there should be a focus on how to stop the problem and find a solution. While there is no easy answer, Americans should be aware that in a global world, isolationism no longer exists. The turmoil in the Middle East continues to grow, and has a real effect on so many families As the media shines the spotlight on this issue, it is time for all Americans to brush up on their foreign policy, and decide what kind of role America should play.