I joined Informed Citizens Discussion Group (ICDG) this semester because one of the moderators is an upperclassmen National Merit student who gave me a tour of OU when I was still in high school. So far I am extremely happy with my decision to join. The group is small, but every individual is intelligent, passionate, and thoughtful. Every week when I go, I am challenged to consider world, national, and local issues from different perspectives.

One of the best discussions we have had was surrounding Dr. Landis and Syria. Dr. Joshua Landis is the Director of the Center of Middle East Studies here at the University of Oklahoma. He entered our discussion because of an interesting article about him on Huffington Post entitled “Assad’s Man in Oklahoma.” The article seemed a little unfair to Dr. Landis to say the least, but it’s true that not everyone agrees with Dr. Landis’s approach. Landis is anti-interventionist as he sees a repeating pattern throughout history that he called the great sorting out. Post World War II Europe saw this pattern when people of different nationalities, religions, and other markers of positionality were basically forced out so that people were with their own similar group members. Landis acknowledges this is an awful process that is extremely long and extremely bloody, but he simply sees no way out of it.

Many in my ICDG agreed that the United States should not have intervened in the first place. The debate now is that since we have already intervened, what do we do now? Even anti-interventionists can see that Assad is not the ideal ruler by any stretch of the imagination. But would withdrawing and allowing Assad the victory at the very least help end this long, bloody process of the great sorting out?