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Cafe Society to Discuss the Syrian Crisis

By Staff | Nov 27, 2015

The Caf Society, a part of Shepherd University’s Life Long Learning Program will hold its next discussion of current issues on 1 December. The topic will be: “How should the U.S. deal with ISIS and its many ramifications for U.S. domestic and foreign policy?” These weekly discussions are held from 08:30 to 10:00 in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Mike Austin, one of the Caf Society facilitators explained that: “Since the sensational terrorist attacks in Paris the international community, and particularly U.S. news media, many of our citizens, and unfortunately, many of our political leaders have been in a purely reactive mode. In essence, we are doing the terrorists’ work for them feeding the hysteria and xenophobia that precludes any thoughtful and sustainable response. We need to step back and critically examine our strengths and find ways to work in concert with other concerned nations to pursue an approach that isolates ISIS and deprives it of essential resources particularly political support. We should look upon the flood of Syrian refugees as a disavowal of their proffered means of governing any emergent nation, regardless of its religious orientation.”

He commented further that: “Now that the oil producing nations of the Middle East have lost dominance and can no longer dictate to us, there is room to maneuver. We have an opportunity to set aside our Cold War legacies and forge productive working relationships where there are emergent common interests. Many nations have relevant experience and insight that could make a significant difference. The obvious players are Russia, France, and Turkey of course, but there are many others. But first, we have to agree to disavow the political fratricide that characterizes current political process here in the U.S. To retain our leadership role in the world and preserve the advantageous life style that American have come to expect we need to work together. Pulling in the latch string and returning to isolationism won’t work. We have to allow our national leaders to speak clearly and convincingly at home and abroad in dealing with this latest emergent form of terrorism. I am reminded of the movie about the “mouse that roared”, or even “chicken little”. Tragic as the Paris incidents were, it isn’t ‘game over’. But simply launching more drone strikes, conducting Vietnam- era ‘body counts’, or even pushing the much bally-hooed ‘boots on the ground’ mantra without a coherent game plan won’t help. Surely out of our experience in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan we should have learned something. We should have a good discussion.”

If you have suggestions for future Caf Society topics or want more information about the Caf Society program contact Mike Austin at (304) 876-0598 or michael.austin@frontiernet.net.