Commentary

Middle East Diplomatic Vacuum

Now that the dust is settling after the military response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria, it’s a good time to examine the elements that would help and that are hindering progress in the country and the region.

The lack of a diplomatic presence in the region is harming our efforts considerably.

Regardless of the results of the missile strikes, without a diplomatic strategy there is no chance for success.

Add to that reality 25% budget cuts for the State Department and a mass exodus of career diplomats, the damage being done to our ability to bring to bear all of our tools is significant.

The ambassadorships in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are all vacant with no nominees even slated. This signals disinterest in the diplomatic process as well as the region.  This is fostering a laissez-faire environment that Assad and Putin have been capitalizing on for well over a year, much like Putin did in Crimea and the Ukraine. 

A sadistic cycle has been churning in Syria for years. The Arab Spring saw hope flourish only to be met with violence, terror, and a vacuum that allowed ISIS to break ground. With years of patience and dedicated efforts by two administrations, the hold ISIS has there is nearly gone.

13 million Syrians are refugees, and no end is in sight for the civil war and violence that has become their daily lives. Barred from entering America, the burdens being placed on our allies in the Middle East and Europe are growing. 

Thankfully, our military always rises to the occasion when given achievable, short-term objectives. They deserve our respect and gratitude for always doing what is asked of them.

It would be better to only utilize our military as a last resort.

Increasingly in the Middle East, it’s our only resort. 

We have to change that by reinvesting in diplomatic efforts, reconnecting with our allies, and having Congress actually do their jobs instead of using every opportunity to avoid accountability and their constitutional responsibilities. 

  • Let’s actually have a robust debate on the House floor.
  • Let’s have our representatives go out into their districts and listen to what their constituents have to say.
  • Let’s have our elected officials listen to veterans who still aren’t receiving the care they deserve. 

We need all hands on deck instead of shortchanging our troops and expecting them to carry the load every single time.

By not even slating nominees for ambassadorships throughout the Middle East, we’re setting ourselves up for escalating conflicts and less communication.

It’s about time Congress stood up and demanded action.

From the hollowing out of the State Department to the continued struggles at the VA, when are the People going to hold Congress accountable?

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