How do we solve a problem like Syria, and is it "our" problem to solve?
A pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad protester shouts slogans during a motorcade protest to show support for his president, in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday July 7, 2011. Syrian protesters hurled stones and set roadblocks of burning tires against government forces trying to enter a key opposition city Thursday, nearly a week after a massive protest against the regime of President Bashar Assad, activists said. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)
Syria has been locked in a state of civil war for more than two years. The conflict — between President Bashar Assad's loyalist forces and insurgents represented by the Syrian National Coalition — began in March 2011, and has been ongoing since.
— who benefits?
In his own words, Spinney concludes, it is the arms manufacturers, war hawks and "foreign policy wonks" who stand to gain the most, as opposed to the people of Syria, on behalf of whom the United States and other nations claim they are taking action.
To be fair, there are differing points of view — in no small way the result of wildly conflicting ideologies — regarding the effectiveness of Western intervention in the Middle East.
People have argued about the effectiveness of a history reflecting over two decades of meddling from the West.
But one of the questions few have an answer to is this: at the end of the day, are the people in these countries better off after Western intervention than they were before?
And if not, why do we continue to engage in the same kind of conflict?
There remains a lot of questions with respect to the West's involvement in the Middle East, and none of them have concrete answers. That doesn't make the asking of those questions and subsequent search for their answers any less important.