The ongoing conflict in Syria is one of the colossal human catastrophes in modern times. Since the outbreak of violence four-and-a-half years ago, at least 200,000 innocent people have died, and millions more have fled their homes in fear of their lives. By any statistical or moral measure, the situation is a complete disaster.
Over four million people have left Syria, spawning an enormous refugee crisis, both in the Middle East and in Europe. Suffice it to say, this is now as much the West’s problem – our problem – as it is a bloody regional conflict in some far-away corner of the globe.
Given the seriousness of the situation, one might expect America’s presidential candidates to have at least some understanding of the root causes of the conflict, as the next administration will need to help build a strategy to address it (with apologies to President Obama and his team, the current administration’s actions and policies have been less than effective in the region).
Last week, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton – who was the Secretary of State at the outbreak of violence in the region – weighed in on the subject. And if you were expecting something stately, or even relevant to the topic, well, buckle up for disappointment.
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Why is this happening?’ Because of terrible governance, because of corruption, because of conflict, because of climate change.” (emphasis ours)
“Because of climate change?” We don’t claim to have firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day situation on the ground in Syria, but we feel safe positing a theory: If you polled any single participant or affected party in the conflict (government solider, rebel fighter, ISIS terrorist, or civilian refugee) as to what caused the violence that surrounds them, not a single person would blame climate change.
I mean, seriously, think about that. The presumptive Democrat nominee for President of the United States thinks that climate change is the reason that President Assad has used chemical weapons to murder his own people, or why ISIS massacres hundreds of children in a single day. For the life of us, we can’t wrap our heads around it. Can you?
America is a global leader largely because of our commitment to strong national security. But if presidential candidates are leveraging international crises to push their pet issues instead of protecting our security, that undermines some of the very principles America was built on.
What do you think? Would the ongoing violence in Syria simply disappear if we stopped buying SUVs and heating our homes? Can you find even the loosest correlation between the science – or politics – of climate change, and the horrifying violence in the Middle East? Join us on our Facebook page and share your thoughts.