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.