Syria and How the Global is Local

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In the upcoming days, Mission residents will have the opportunity to again play a role on the global stage. President Obama announced today that he will seek authorization from the Congress before launching a missile strike on Syria. With the debate and the responsibility shifting to Congress, the spotlight will fall squarely on the Congress lady from the California’s 12th Congressional District, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Given the tendency of Republican members of Congress to  oppose any proposal put forth by the Obama Administration, the question of authorization to use military force in Syria must ultimately be decided by the Democratic members of the House. Given her position as Minority Leader, Congresswoman Pelosi will be responsible for persuading Democrats to vote “Yes.”

So far she has urged Obama to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government for what the Administration alleges to have been its use of chemical weapons. For more on Ms. Pelosi’s views, see this from Politico.

President Obama has proposed, and Ms. Pelosi has blessed, a “limited” military action to deter further use of chemical weapons. Will Obama achieve his goal while containing the strike? Can he? Military experts weight in here.

If you want to know more of Ms. Pelosi’s thinking, or if you want to register your thoughts, you can email her here. You can also call her in Washington (202-225-4965) or in San Francisco (415-556-4862).

As the Mission District is acutely aware, foreign policy decisions often carry with them consequences felt at home. The foreign policies of successive U.S. administrations in the 1970s and 80s in Central America, including the financing of military actions, contributed to waves of immigration.

In part due to that experience, the Mission has been a center of anti-war activism.  During the Central American wars, the 24th Street BART became the site of so many demonstrations against the U.S. – financed contra war in  Nicaragua that it became known as Sandino Plaza.

Nowadays, the Mission is  the site of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is following the situation in Syria closely and is organizing demonstrations against intervention.

Most of the 159,000 residents of Syrian ancestry live, however,  in the northeast. To get a sense of what they are thinking, see this report. 

MSN Money provides some figures if you are wondering about the cost in dollars and cents.

And for fans of the inimitable Pepe Escobar, here is his take on Operation Tomahawk with Cheese. Others weighing in differently include David Ignatius at the Washington Post.

 

 

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