The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Leon Wieseltier on the Moral Dimensions of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

By Cody M. Poplin
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 1:36 PM

Headlines around the world over the last two weeks have warned of the impending "humanitarian catastrophe" in places like Aleppo should Assad regime forces continue their march unimpeded. While some aid has now arrived in the most desperate parts of Syria, the peace process has stalled—if it ever meaningfully existed—and all sides to the conflict are pointing fingers at each other. The Associated Press found the situation so dire this as to cover the history of siege warfare, which, it seems, has followed us beyond the supposed end of history.

This week on the show we have Leon Wieseltier, who among many other things is the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution. Wieseltier is currently completing an essay on the moral, historical and philosophical dimensions of the Syrian refugee crisis. During his conversation with Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, Wieseltier expressed his frustrations with the United States’ policy in Syria, arguing that the United States has a moral obligation to do more to alleviate the plight of Syrian refugees and that the U.S.’s refusal to act is the great foreign policy failing of our time. According to Wieseltier, the United States has a responsibility to be more than the “world’s most powerful bystander.”

Hear more from Wieseltier and other Brookings experts in two panels on the refugee crisis below:

Panel I: The Global Refugee Crisis: Moral Dimensions

Panel II: Practical Solutions