The recent shoot down of a Russian fighter jet near the Turkish border increased tension between Russia and NATO members while the world is trying to fight ISIS (The New York Times 11/25/2015). Turkey defended the shooting down the Russian fighter jet by stating that the jet was warned multiple times on radio as the Russian jet, according to Turkish radar, crossed border into Turkey. Russia has refuted Turkey’s claim by stating that no visual or audio warning was given, and according to Russian radar data the jet never entered Turkish air space.

It does not seem that Russia had any intention to invade or attack Turkey, and it is possible that a technological error from either side’s radar or GPS technology would have caused this unfortunate incident.

Nevertheless, the shoot down of a Russian jet shows a greater urgency for major international players to setup a coordinated military and intelligence infrastructure to prevent such tragedies in the first place.

It has already been over a year since the growth of ISIS, and despite the continuous brutality exhibited by the terrorist group against civilians, the world leaders have been extremely slow in mounting a counter terrorism operation. Bogged down by the question of whether Assad should stay in power in Syria, the United States and Russia are seemingly fighting the same enemy with a different end game in mind.

Due to the US and other world partners not being able to reach quick political consensus on how to approach the Syrian problem, Europe is facing a refugee crisis that is in historic in proportions. Without quickly stabilizing Syria and getting rid of all terrorist elements in the region, refugees from Syria will continue to attempt to reach Europe, and the world will be facing a long term humanitarian crisis for decades to come.

There are many ideas on how world leaders should approach the Syrian crisis, but the main priority ought to be a consensus among world leaders on the short term goals of Syria (i.e. getting rid of ISIS) and also form a United Nations sponsored special civilian protection zone within Syria. Under the jurisdiction of the UN, such region should provide stability, safety, and a possibility of recovery (of livelihood) for the Syrians still stuck in the region. If the world leaders are still bogged down on the question of whether Assad ought to be President, then they should ask themselves whether debating such question serves the immediate interest of the Syrian people running away for basic safety and stability.

Hopefully, the shooting down of the Russian jet will be the last such international incident that results in unnecessary death and casualties between nations that are supposed to work for the same cause.


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