Syria, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, has strong allies

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Attacking Syria will not be like intervening in Bosnia or Kosovo, invading Iraq or overthrowing the government of Libya.  In all these cases, the United States attacked countries that were small, weak and isolated.

This is not the case with Syria, whose government is supported by Iran and Russia.  It is more like North Vietnam, which had allies that supplied it with modern weapons.  Attacking Syria also would be like bombing North Vietnam in the sense that it would risk a direct confrontation with Russia.

It would be embarrassing from President Obama to step back after drawing a “red line” against President Assad using poison gas, and then saying he knows for sure that Assad did use poison gas.  But it will be even more embarrassing if Obama has to back down after ordering missile strikes into Syria, and downright humiliating if he has to order U.S. troops withdrawn after failing to achieve his goal.

What President Obama would have to do in order to make me favor a declaration of war against Syria is to show me an objective that is worth the sacrifice and risk, and to convince me that he has a realistic strategy for achieving that objective.

“Punishing Syria” is not an objective.  “Getting rid of Assad” is not a worthwhile objective unless you have some reason to think that what comes after Assad will be better.  And please don’t say that nothing could be worse than Assad.  That’s what many of us thought about Saddam, and how wrong we were!

President Putin’s statements about Syria have been restrained.  He evidently doesn’t want to back President Obama into a corner.  But I don’t think he will stand idly by while Obama orders an attack on a Russian ally.

LINKS

Putin Stings America by Ian Welsh

“We have our plans”: Putin warns US against Syria military action from The Guardian.

Russia’s President Putin warns US over Syria action from the BBC.

On Syria: The U.S. is No Lone Ranger and Should Put That Six-Shooter Away by Juan Cole, professor of Middle East history, for TruthDig.

Syria and the New Great Divide in the Greater Middle East by Juan Cole on his Informed Comment web log, analyzing the lineup of forces in and around Syria.  The map above is from this post.  It is already out of date, in that Egypt’s government opposes U.S. intervention in Syria and is moving closer to Russia.

Egypt Rejects U.S. Strike on Syria from the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir.

The Arab Divide on Syria by C. Raja Mohan for Eurasia Review.

The ‘Signal Hawks’ and Their Dubious Theory of International Relations by Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic Monthly.

Syria: The Cost of Squandering Credibility by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

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One Response to “Syria, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, has strong allies”

  1. United Nations Map Of Iran – Kristamarie Says:

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