Jeffrey Sachs drops a massive load of Syria-related common sense on MSNBC

April 15, 2018

Transcript by Rawan Mhamsa

This is very different than just a war between two countries. This is as convoluted as it gets and could get out of control. I don’t think people might really conceptualize, maybe even not this president, how out of control this could escalate. It’s true, but I think we have to step back and not put this in partisan terms. This is a US mistake that started seven years ago. And I remembered the day on your show when President Obama said Assad must go. And I looked at you and Joe and I said, Huh? How is he going to do that? Where is the policy for that? Right. And we know they sent in the CIA to overthrow Assad. The CIA and Saudi Arabia together in covert operations, tried to overthrow Assad. It was a disaster. Eventually, it brought in both ISIS as a splinter group to the jihadists that went in. It also brought in Russia. So we have been digging deeper and deeper and deeper.

What we should do now is get out and not continue to throw missiles, not have a confrontation with Russia. Seven years has been a disaster under Obama continuing under Trump. This is what I would call the permanent state. This is the CIA. This is the Pentagon wanting to keep Iran and Russia out of Syria, but no way to do that. And so we have made a proxy war in Syria. It’s killed five hundred thousand people, displaced 10 million.

And I’ll say predictably so, because I predicted it seven years ago that there was no way to do this and that it would make a complete chaos. So what I would plead to President Trump is get out like his instinct told him that way. That was his instinct. But then all the establishment, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Pentagon, everybody said, No, No, that’s irresponsible. But his instinct is right. Get out. 00:02:10.080

We’ve done enough damage seven years and now we really risk a confrontation with Russia that is extraordinarily dangerous, reckless if we just step away from it. As attractive as that feels to us, I don’t think it’s the right decision either for the country or for the international community. I don’t think it’s attractive. But I think we have to understand how this happened. This happened because of us. These six hundred thousand are not just incidental. We started a war to overthrow a regime.

It was covert. It was Timber Sycamore.

People can look it up. The CIA operation, together with Saudi Arabia, still are shrouded in secrecy, which is part of the problem in our country. A major war effort shrouded in secrecy, never debated by Congress, never explained to the American people signed by President Obama, never explained. And this created chaos. And so just throwing more missiles in right now is not a response. My only concern, we need to go.

It’s, by the way, not to walk away to go to the UN Security Council, as the admiral says, to agree with Russia on a strategy for ending the fight. But ending the fight means that we stop trying to overthrow a government, that we stop trying to support rebels who are committed to overthrowing the government. That is where this war continues because we to this day backed rebels that are trying to overthrow a government contrary to international law, contrary to the UN Charter, contrary to common sense, contrary to practical path, we can’t do it.

And it’s just creating ongoing crisis to the extent of facing an imminent confrontation with Russia.