U.S. responds to Syrian chemical weapons

Ferris professor, student give perspective on international crisis

Many Ferris State University students are unaware of the current crisis occurring in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own civilians on Aug. 21. The United States came to an agreement on Saturday with Russia, a close ally of Syria, to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control. This proposition will likely mean there will not be a U.S. military strike in the near future. The agreement came on the third day of negotiations in Geneva. The chemical weapons intend to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014.

“Some college students just don’t care about what is going on,” Dr. Griffin, Ferris political science professor said.

Griffin also mentioned that he’s been working at Ferris for 23 years and every year it seems more students are aware of current events.

More than 100,000 people have died in Syria. President Obama had threatened to use force in response to the chemical weapons attack. Obama assured Americans that if the U.S. did attack it would be a targeted strike with the goal to eliminate the chemical weapons. In Obama’s speech from Sept. 10 he said, “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.”

The Syrian president had been cracking down on rebel groups who demonstrated against the Assad dictatorship since April 2011. However, when similar rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia began the Syrian government responded by attacking their own people, which led to a civil war.

Griffin said the United States is the number one leader in the world, so they couldn’t ignore what is going on. He also noted he heard people speculate this conflict had the potential of turning into a “World War III” but did not believe that was ever a possibility.

“I think a lot of students like to grab on to the interesting rumors instead of the facts,” Ferris social work senior Amanda Foster said. She said staying informed can be difficult, but it’s important for young people to be mindful of world events because it can affect them directly or indirectly.

The U.S. continues to communicate openly with Russia and they both agreed that Syria’s use of chemical weapons was a criminal act. Initially, the United States and its allies were planning for possible “limited military strikes” against the Middle Eastern nation. Syria is a nation of 22 million people and roughly the size of Washington State.
“We [the U.S.] are working well with Russia currently. But you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, which is why everyone needs to keep themselves in touch with the latest news,” Foster said.