As the conflict in Syria continues, chaos and confusion intensifies.
It is important for the United States to weigh all options when considering assisting either party during this ongoing war. The U.S. is presented with three options: support the infamous dictator Bashar al-Assad, support the Syrian rebels or avoid entering the conflict altogether. After considering all angles, I believe the most viable option for the U.S. is to stay out of the conflict.
In past experiences, the removal of a ruling dictator ended in great catastrophe. The U.S. can avoid a serious relapse, such as in Vietnam and Yugoslavia, by allowing Assad to remain in power. Despite the common misconception that everyone hates Assad, most Syrians actually want him to stay in power. Arguments against Assad include the simple known fact he has sabotaged the country, is in alliance with Iran and Hezbollah — an aggressive terrorist group from South Lebanon whose goal is to defeat Israel — and his goal is to expand their influence to neighboring areas.
The second option for the United States is to support the Syrian rebels. This could be an asset to the U.S., as it could advance political interests, provide a stable ally and freeze Assad's interests in the area. Funding the rebels would be the best way to stop the regime from entering bordering countries such as Israel. It also allows the U.S. to work against Assad without exploiting our own troops. If the U.S. can take out Assad, it would prove detrimental for Iran and benefit Israel. However, funding the rebels has potential for extreme error as funds don't always reach the right hands. Oftentimes, they end up in the hands of jihadists, which increases civilian casualties, adding to the plethora of examples why the rebels cannot be trusted.
It is clear that the United States is in an unfortunate position where it feels obligated to choose a side. However, the option to remain neutral throughout this conflict still lingers. Supporting Assad would be counterintuitive as he aligns himself with terrorism and used chemical weapons against his own people. On the other hand, aiding rebels is extremely risky. It's difficult to decipher trustworthy rebels from members of ISIS. Many rebels are pledging an allegiance to terrorists and we should not run the risk of our weapons falling into the wrong hands, again. In addition, the U.S. has little economic interest in the country, and waging war would only cost American lives and money.
Though it seems we have a moral obligation, as Israel is in need of support, it is not always the United States' job to play global cop. There is a prevalent drawback in funding either side, as both would cost American lives and money. Involving ourselves in such conflict will cause significant harm and reap no benefits.
The best option for the United States is to stay out of this war.
Laura Lenard is a senior at Hermantown High School.
This is one of three opinion pieces by Hermantown High School students in the Jan. 31 issue. The others are: