Gästinlägg av Mrutyuanjai Mishra: Should the West focus on Syria or China?

9 maj, 2013


Mrutyuanjai Mishra har en europeisk magister i mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati. Han är flitig krönikör i dansk media, bl a Jyllandsposten samt även i ”Den Korte Avis”. Han är kommentator i dansk TV där han kommenterar internationella frågor rörande Asien. 

There is no doubt that with over 70,000 dead, and million more displaced population, the sectarian conflict in Syria is not diminishing. On the contrary, there is escalation and more killings. This despite the fact that civil war in Syria is now in its third year period. It seems like there is a fight to the finish between sunni rebels and alawite shia muslims in Syria. There is no trust whatsoever between the warring parties. Both sides seek total victory. There are other religious minorities like christians, who are also very wary of sunni rebels fighting Bashar Al-Assads regime. Some rebel groups have direct links to Al Queda. This is also worrying Washington.

But the big question is should the West intervene in Syrian conflict? There are many good reasons to intervene. Putting the end to violence and saving lives is noble, and most impulsive thing to do. But foreign policy experts in USA are extremely wary of this project. They do not want to get bogged down in yet another conflict in middle-east, which will yet again require troops on ground to restore peace. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have proved to be very demanding and there is tremendous reluctance in the present government in Washington in getting involved in yet another conflict.
The big question is also if intervention will actually help? Critics worry that just like in case of Iraq, the sectarian violence did not end anyway and instead of sunni influence, Iraq is now has Shia influence and dominance. In case of Syria, we might end up doing just the opposite. Intervention will help overthrow the Shia minority government it will get replaced by a sunni majority. The shia minority of Syria fleeing Syria will further destabilize other countries of the region.
But the most important reason why foreign policy experts are extremely worried is something else. The reason is China.
This week Pentagon for the first directly accussed China for spying and trying to steal defence secrets. Barack Obamas administration specifically named Chinese military´s involvement in cyber attacks on american government computers. Washington is also accusing China for not disclosing the exact defence budget. The figures are much higher than what chinese authorities like to declare to the world. Chinas clandestine approach to military technology and its growing military capacity has seriously started to worry many in Western countries and their allies.
In a nutshell, Chinas growing might is matter of serious concern. They argue that China should have a higher priority then Syria. Based on these above given arguments some foreign policy experts are explicitly suggesting more engagement with Asia and lesser involvement in yet anther conflict in middle-east.
While the pressure is mounting on Barack Obama to act in Syria, so is also the pressure not to act. Why should China and Asia be more important?
Here are some arguments. China is involved with almost all its neighbours in some form of territorial disputes and it is using its military muscles to impose its will. In April, chinese soldiers entered Indian territory and for the first time refused to go back. India and China share a 4057 km long border and together they constitute one third of world´s population. So any war between these two asian giants will further cripple the worlds economy. China also has simultaneously another territorial dispute with Japan. 
China is trying  to deepen its military and civil engagement with other countries by building ports etc in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka. So China is busy securing its rise as the next upcoming super power. And if western countries get caught up in yet another long conflict in middle-east, then it would make it even more easier for China to establish its hegemony in Asia. 
Asia, matters as the future growth, jobs and markets lie in this region. Hence the argument goes that further engagement in Asia is far more important. 


//Mrutyuanjai Mishra.


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