Matthew RJ Brodsky and Brian Becker, the National Director of the Act Now to Stop War and Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R) Coalition had a contentious debate on CCTV America, hosted by Anand Naidoo. The topic was what the new revelations on the use of chemical weapons in Syria means for U.S. policy. Becker contends, "the U.S. is, I would say, predominantly responsible for the civil war" in Syria because "the administration in Washington is involved in regime change and it will do nothing to stop until the Asad government is gone." Becker believes that the White House has been using its proxies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia to force regime change since the beginning. He continued: "I think that's wrong because it violates the basic sovereignty of the Syrian people who alone should be the determiners of their own destiny."
Disagreeing with Becker, Brodsky explained, "the Obama administration has done everything it can to stay out by not providing any form of lethal assistance to the opposition." He believes that if the White House were more involved from the outset, tens of thousands of lives could likely have been saved. By waiting this long "there are few good options on the table" to resolve the conflict.
On the issue of chemical weapons, Brodsky explained that regardless of the Obama administration's conclusions, other nations, such as Britain, France, and Israel, have concluded that the regime has indeed used chemical weapons. Becker interjected that those countries' intelligence agencies should be ignored because "Britain and France are the former colonizers of the Middle East and Israel is at war against Syria and all of the Arab regimes." Furthermore, according to Becker, Israel's concerns that Syria's chemical weapons might end up in the hands of other terrorist groups "are not valid" because Israel took the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967. Becker erroneously concludes that "the Israelis have been the aggressors" and that the U.S. should not bow to Israeli pressure and get involved in Syria.
Correcting the record of Becker's obfuscation, Brodsky explained, "Israel is not asking the United States to get involved; it is the Syrian rebels themselves--the Free Syrian Army is asking" for more U.S. involvement and that should be considered. According to Brodsky, Becker's belief that the U.S. should remain on the sidelines as the civil war should be left up to the Syrian people is a weak argument given that the Asad regime is currently propped up by outside actors, such as Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah.
Becker defends the Asad regime by saying, "What surprised Israel and the United States is that the Asad government is a very tenacious government. It was unable to be overthrown quickly not only because it has a strong army but also because it has a very big broad base of support within Syria." Brodsky countered that of course the Asad regime was "tenacious" since it has murdered 80,000 people but that it has a small minority of support who happen to have the heavy weapons. Brodsky exposes Becker's twisting of the facts when he argues that the U.S. is arming the Syrian rebels through Qatar and Saudi Arabia since those weapons are strengthening Salafi terrorist groups such as the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra. Those countries are not U.S. proxies and the White House has an interest in making sure that vetted, secular rebels receive any weapons coming from outside Syria, be they American weapons or those coming from the Gulf States.
Regarding whether the U.S. should now get more involved in the Syrian civil war, Brodsky believes, "since President Obama said that moving or using chemical weapons is a red line, there must be consequences if the United States is to be taken credibly in its foreign policy. Iran is certainly watching and so is North Korea."