Syrian conflict exposes a world lack of trust on leaders

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By Ivana Braga


The two-year Syrian civil war has become a war of world leadership. In the international arena, representatives of several countries have played a role to find the best way to solve the problem for Syrians and move away from the threat of chemical weapons affecting the rest of the world. These are the arguments spread by the political leaders and mainstream media. The last days, skills and qualities of these leaders have been analyzed by different angles… but one is missing: trust. The author of On becoming a leader, Warren Bennis, highlights that integrity is the most distinguishing aspect that leaders must have. Perhaps because of the absence of it, no one dares to say that any agreement about Syria’s crisis will be fulfilled. All declarations are permeated with “if”.

Taking a close look, all Syrian issues involve disputes for gas and oil, strategic positions, strong allies, and mercenaries; but they don’t appear in speeches or newspapers. Today, the discussion is polarized between a military solution and a political solution, sustained by the presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin respectively. The US president said in an electoral campaign “no more war”, and then, has continued all the wars his predecessor conducted, involving his country in more and now proposing a new one. It’s coherent that the American population doesn’t support the military action. Their vote expressed a choice for another leadership style.

Meanwhile, the Russian president emerges as a diplomatic leader responsible to avert an American strike against Syria by convincing president Bashar al-Assad to open his country to an international commission. However, Vladimir Putin doesn’t explain how his peaceful resolution will take place if he continues to provide weapons for the Syrian government or if killing people using conventional weapons is fair and not liable to punishment?

Furthermore, the international community watched president Bashar al-Assad commit to put the chemical weapons under international control and signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Controversially, leaders from neighboring countries don’t trust him because of past broken promises. Remembering that on July 23 2012, the Syrian government for the first time publicly confirmed that it had chemical weapons, but stated that it won’t use them against its people.

For these reasons, leaders not able to comply with their engagements mix up followers and hinder results. People are motivated by the integrity of their leaders. Making decisions, whether for fighting, hard work, or supporting, are based in trust. Unfortunately, what the world scenery shows is a lack of these leadership qualities and citizens becoming increasingly skeptical.

4 Comments on “Syrian conflict exposes a world lack of trust on leaders”

  1. Hi Ivana,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I also found trust to be an important part of our understanding and journey to a resolution. When I was writing my article, I stumbled upon a poll that said about half of the United States considers the President trustworthy, and that about 1/5 of Americans understand his policy on Syria. Because of this, I argued that trust is incredibly important, but that before trust comes understanding. I think that if more people understood the actions their leaders are choosing to take, whether or not they agree with them, they’re more likely to trust them because they’ll have the resources they need to see the cost/benefits of each side and will be able to draw more information from their peers. I believe most of our anxiety comes from feeling as though we’re in the dark with no voice, but don’t realize that to have a voice we need to be informed of the issue at hand.

    Anyway, your post is beautifully written and spot-on. I look forward to hearing more in class!

  2. Bravo! I agree with your point about Putin supplying weapons to Assad and the resulting deaths by conventional weapons.

  3. Thank all for your comments. Even this subject is often on media and conversations to write about that far miles of distance and few informations was very hard.

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