The following are excerpts from editorials published by other newspapers across New England:
Overshadowed in the debate over whether or not the United States should respond militarily to Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his populace is the more fundamental question of why is it that the United States is always expected to take this kind of action in response to bloodshed in Libya, Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East? President Obama said that the credibility of the international community is at stake in Syria but credibility cannot be at stake if it doesn’t exist.
The United Nations was essentially invented to address knotty issues like this one. It may in fact may be one of the most ineffectual organizations ever invented, tied in knots by its own rules.
A case in point is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that an American attack on Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter, which states that only its Security Council can authorize such action. As a permanent member of that Council (as is the United States), Russia has veto power over any action authorized by the council. It is the height of cynicism for the Russian leader to declare that the administration must go through the UN Security Council for approval of an attack when he has made it clear his nation will block any such action. So much for the UN.
The Arab League is easy to overlook when a Middle East crisis erupts because the league invariably makes itself scarce. Terrified of offending one constituency or another it is left to wring its hands. Whether it is an internal crisis like the one in Egypt or the presence of al-Qaida in Yemen, the Arab League can’t be counted upon to be part of a solution.