Just thinking out loud here, but aren’t the phrases “limited strike”, and “shot across the bow” sort of synonymous with “invasion”, “act of war”, and suchlike?
If China, or Russia, or Iran, or France, or even Lichtenstein said that it disagreed with America’s policy on Human Rights by maintaining Guantanamo Bay, and was going to carry out a “limited strike” on the US mainland as a “shot across the bow”, but it would be okay because there would be no “boots on the ground”, I just wonder how America or the rest of the world would respond?
Most people tend to think that if someone is mad, they are babbling, or frothing at the mouth or something. This is not true madness. True madness is the desire to hurt or injure or destroy other people, regardless of what the mad person is saying. This desire can be hidden, or quite overt. The outcome of peoples actions, not just their words, are the true measure of their sanity or insanity.
Hitler was able to inspire an entire country to wage war on it’s neighbours. Ghandi was able to inspire a country to face down the British Empire. Kennedy was able to inspire the USA to interplanetary heights of technological achievement. Which one of those was mad? And when you think about it, doesn’t it then become obvious which are the mad people in the world?
Obama is trying to inspire an entire country to commit an act of war against a sovereign country that has not committed an act of war against America. And the justifications for such actions are almost childishly transparent.
We all know that more innocent people would be killed and injured in the “limited strikes” than in the gas attack itself. Look at the number of people killed and injured in Afghanistan and Iraq because of military action.
There are always alternatives. If the case against Syrian President is proven beyond all doubt, then, for example, there could be global ostracism. Cut off all external communications to the country. Seize all external government assets, and use them to pay for the handling of the refugees that have been forced from their homes. Freeze all foreign assets of Syrian citizens until the situation is fully resolved. Make the national currency worthless by refusing to trade in it. Allow no imports or exports. Jail anyone who tries to smuggle goods into or out of the country as “aiding and abetting”. Expel the country from the UN until such time as they can prove their fitness to be admitted again. One of the first steps to re-admission would be to insist that the person or persons responsible for war crimes be handed over to the International Court for trial.
After all, being part of the global community carries its own global responsibility. The vast majority of countries understand this and take their responsibilities very seriously.
These may or may not be workable suggestions. But I DO know that the use of force is ALWAYS unworkable in the long term, no matter how appealing it may seem to be in the short term.