Updated on Sept. 15 at 4:20 p.m.
Politically active clubs and organizations at Cal State Fullerton represent a variety of opinions on military action in Syria.
Some members of political clubs are completely against the United States military striking weapon facilities and other significant targets in Syria; other representatives are in favor of it.
One consensus opinion among club officers is that United States should be cautious when moving forward, either in taking military action or pursuing diplomatic alternatives.
Patrick Ryan, 23, a business administration major, is an officer with Young Americans for Liberty, a nonpartisan political organization.
Ryan is opposed to military action in Syria. “I believe pursuing a diplomatic solution should be our nation’s foreign policy priority,” he said.
He cited non-interventionist principles, insufficient evidence that targeted military strikes would be effective, and concerns over refugees in neighboring cities and countries.
“I believe the United States should only take military action in countries that present a clear and imminent threat to the U.S.,” Ryan said. “Syria does not reflect such a threat, and our political leaders have been unable to articulate that such a threat exists.”
“Even with a strike, (Syrian President Bashar) Assad will likely still remain in power and will still be able to utilize his chemical weapons,” Ryan said. “What should we do if he decides to use them again or retaliate against Israel?”
Ryan added that the rebel forces in the Syrian civil war have been linked to terrorists in al-Qaeda, and destabilizing Assad’s regime may not be the best idea.
“Military action would destabilize Assad, which may lead to the bolstering of these terrorist groups,” he said. “Frankly, the U.S. Air Force is not al-Qaeda’s air force.”
The history of U.S. military intervention over the past decade has influenced how the public views American foreign policy now, and students here are no different.
Ryan said that in the past, the U.S. provided arms to groups or governments in the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and rebels in Afghanistan, only for them to become hostile later.
“It is counterintuitive, but it is true that military interventions around the world make America less safe in the long run,” he said.
Marco Moreno, 20, psychology major, is president of Project People Against Trafficking and Human Exploitation at CSUF.
Moreno said that the club focuses on other types of human rights violations and has not extensively discussed the Syrian civil war. However, speaking from a personal standpoint, he is in favor of taking action against the Syrian government if necessary.
“I think something should be done,” Moreno said.
Moreno said that the U.S. should intervene if a foreign government or group commits heinous actions, but only to a certain extent.
“I think it is within our values as Americans to go and be kind of the police (of the world),” he said.
Moreno stressed that U.S. military action in Syria should be limited, focused and involve a backup plan in case initial strikes failed, and added that doing it successfully would be a difficult task.
“You have to have a plan after the attack,” he said.
The proposed diplomatic agreement between Syria, Russia and the United Nations in which the Syrian government would agree to surrender its chemical weapons to the U.N. was seen as a positive development.
“I don’t know if they’re actually going to go through with that, but that’s ideal,” Moreno said.
However, some concerns about the negotiations include whether or not each group is playing by the rules.
“To conduct such an agreement, we must illustrate how it mutually benefits all parties involved,” Ryan said. “Specifically for Russia, we must show that we do indeed share common goals such as economic prosperity and peace.”