The US intervention in Vietnam was motivated by the fear of what was called the ‘domino theory’ which said that the success of the communists in Indochina would be followed by their incursions into other countries of the region.
Now, in West Asia, the Americans seem intent on introducing their version of the theory, entailing the ‘fall’ of one ‘rogue State’ after another to the American forces. Even before the war has ended in Iraq, the US hawks are turning their eyes on Syria, which had earlier been identified — along with Iran — by a US official as one of the countries which had to be ‘dealt’ with after Iraq. The list of American grouses against Damascus is becoming longer. The earlier complaints were about Syria’s links with the terrorist outfits. Now it is also being accused of sheltering Iraqi fugitives and having a chemical weapons programme.
At the moment, the US is talking only of diplomatic and economic pressure. But few are under any delusion that if Syria does not ‘cooperate’, the US will have little hesitation in launching a military attack. It’s irrelevant whether the attack takes place now or later. In all probability, it will be much later — if at all — since the US will first have to sort out the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster in Iraq. According to present indications, the post-‘liberation’ scene may be quite messy although a similar mess in Afghanistan did not stop the Americans from invading Iraq. But what is shocking is that the US should so brazenly arrogate to itself the power to order things around in areas of its choosing simply because of its present overwhelming military power.
It’s not that Syria is a paragon of virtue. Like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, its regime is a repressive one. But it is not for America to attack it although it presents no direct and immediate threat to the US (as Iraq also didn’t) although Syria does possess the capability to harass Israel. What is more worrying is that there has been no mention of the UN in connection with the punitive measures which the US intends to take against Syria. It is the US which will decide and mete out the punishment. Clearly, the world is entering a phase in which most countries, more afraid of the US than of the ‘rogue States’, will begin to regard America as No. 1 in that unsavoury category.