Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper says the U.S. and its European allies aren’t looking for a fight in Syria. Cooper sits on the House Armed Services Committee, and says despite the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on protesters, there’s not much appetite to get involved.
Cooper says it’s a mistake to compare the situation in Syria to that of Libya last year. In Libya, the U.S. and NATO provided air support and supplies to rebels that toppled long-standing strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Cooper says part of what drew Europe then is Libya is in its backyard, just across the Mediterranean. And he says Libya’s vast oil production was a factor as well. Neither is the case with Syria, where the neighborhood is complicated.
“Syria is best known as a proxy for Iran, because really Iran is their only friend in the world and of course we have a very troubled relationship with Iran right now. Many people would like to strike at Syria just to get at Iran, but it’s very close to the country of Israel. Israel is a very sensitive U.S. ally.”
Cooper also says U.S. forces are already overextended, and that Europe may be preoccupied as well, given the uncertain future of its shared currency. And, he says, “We’re not the world’s policemen.”