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Political Expert Weighs in on Syria Crisis

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Experts say the crisis in Syria is a lot like it was back in 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq for allegedly using chemical weapons.

But University of Nevada Professor of Political Science, Eric Herzik, says public opinion is much different today, than it was back then, and for many different reasons.

"The United States had just been attacked," Herzik said. "Now, the United States has been at war for 12 years. People are tired of it. They see no vital interest in Syria."

Herzik says the United States is at a crossroads, with a decision hinging on whether America has a moral obligation to strike Syria.

"America has played this role for the last 40 years and if we don't, then is there somebody to fill the vacuum?" Herzik said.

Herzik says there could be a lot at stake for the U.S., saying this could be a major shift in American foreign policy if the president does not follow through with a military strike.

"America walked away," Herzik said. "They're not going to punish us. Does Iran accelerate their nuclear ambitions? Really with impunity, saying 'They're not going to strike us if they wouldn't strike an easy target like Syria.'"

Others say the timing is bad, with the U.S. still recovering from the recession, and a growing national debt.

"Rand Paul, for example. I don't think it's partisan against Obama," Herzik said. "It's more 'Hey, we're done. We can't afford this anymore.'"

While President Obama is hoping to gain support for a military strike, Herzik says the biggest challenge could be convincing the American people.

"When people go back, Congressmen go back and talk to their constituents, it's like 'We're tired of this war. We're tired of the Middle East,'" Herzik said. "It's like America is becoming more isolationist, perhaps."

Herzik says it is unlikely that the president would order a strike if Congress votes against it.

Written by Paul Nelson
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