What Now, Syria?

It has been a year since the “Arab spring” caught fire in Syria….now after massive destruction, thousands dead and many many maimed….what will the future bring?

I wrote recently that the US was joining in a multi nation attempt to solve the problem in Syria by arming and equipping the resistance….the problem is NO one knows who they are…..a slight kink in the plan…..but what if it fails?

There have been lots of opinions flying around from Congress from the media and from us bloggers….but what are we really looking at?  Some want the US to go in and attack….others want to try and sanction Syria into submission and then there are those that just could not give a crap……

For those that say we need to act more aggressively…the US has this strategy for taking out what we deem as dictators……..I offer up this analysis from the site StratRisks.com……..

1. The target cannot have nuclear weapons. Strongmen in Pakistan and North Korea by virtue of their nukes are exempt from American reaction (unlike Syria or, at present, Iran) — unless they directly threaten our existence or that of our allies. With the end of the Cold War, many rogue states lost the Soviet nuclear umbrella and are still scrambling to acquire their own nuclear weapons to ensure them deterrence, especially against the United States, which has not yet invaded a nuclear nation.

2. We do not attack large countries. About 30 million or so — roughly the population of Iraq or Afghanistan — is the upper limit. That criterion suggests that we will not ourselves seek regime change in Iran (population: 65 million) through force — a different case from punitive bombing or preemptive air attacks on its nuclear facilities.

3. The target should not directly border either Russia or China. We violated this commandment in Afghanistan, apparently encouraged by the global climate of goodwill toward America after 9/11, the short and mountainous Chinese border, and the fact that China shares our fear of radical Islam. But otherwise, after Vietnam and the Cold War, the former Soviet republics, North Korea, Tibet, and the countries of Southeast Asia will always be off-limits to U.S. intervention.

4. U.N. sanction and U.S. congressional approval, however praised and sometimes sought, seem irrelevant. We obtained neither before bombing Serbia, the former but not the latter in Libya, and the latter but not the former in Iraq. We obtained both for Gulf War I, but neither for Panama or for Grenada.

5. Africa seems exempt. Tens of thousands perished in Congo, Darfur, and Rwanda. Africa has oil. No matter. Somalia is as much Middle Eastern as African, and our intervention there was a particularly half-hearted affair. In Africa, even genocide is not a reason for U.S. military intervention — quite in contrast to Serbia, where NATO finally intervened. Idealism is often as praised as it is subordinated to realist concerns.

6. We often intervene in Central America and the Caribbean — the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Panama — but are less likely to do so in South America, where the politics are riskier, the distances greater, and the nations larger and stronger.

7. Intervention is mostly a bipartisan affair. Democrats went into Haiti, Libya, Serbia, and Somalia, Republicans into Afghanistan, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Libya. Republicans may have intervened a little more since Vietnam, but then there have been more years of Republican administrations. Anti-war protests are usually aimed at Republicans, rarely at Democrats, who enjoy far more latitude in the use of force.

8. There is no consistent or predictable rationale for invading a country; it can be supposed national interest and/or oil (Iraq, Libya), “humanitarian” considerations (Haiti, Serbia, Somalia), spheres of interest (Grenada, Panama), or simple retaliation (Afghanistan).

9. The insertion of ground troops is necessary to create postwar governments (Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia, etc.); without them we have little influence (Libya).

10. The target is usually a government rather than gangs, tribes, or terrorists; if it is one of the latter, either we do not go in to remove those in control, whatever the provocation (Lebanon), or we fail when we do (Haiti, Somalia). The verdict on Afghanistan is still out.

11. We are adept at removing dictators (Afghanistan, Grenada, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Serbia), but less so at fostering calm in their wake (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya).

12. The American people usually favor intervention at the outset, but regret it when hundreds of Americans are killed, or violence continues. Those who most assiduously demanded action are most likely to blame the leaders who followed their advice, apparently embarrassed when violence continues and our losses mount.

13. Russia and China almost always oppose our intervention. nations that support our intervention usually do so privately — and publicly only to the degree post facto that it is clear that we succeeded quickly and without much turmoil.

14. The U.N. has far more problems with removing genocidal dictators than with allowing them to perpetuate genocide.

15. No intervention provides much of a model for any other.

So my question is….at what point do you think the US should get involved in the action in Syria?  Do we chance another war to bring democracy to another country?  or do we allow the Syrian people to choose the course that they feel is best for the country and the people?

Afterword:  since I wrote this draft a new situation has arisen….Syria has agreed to a ceasefire……

(Newser) – Bashar al-Assad’s regime has agreed to begin implementing Kofi Annan’s UN- and Arab League-backed peace plan by April 10, and to cease hostilities entirely 48 hours later, diplomats told reporters today. Syrian officials confirmed as much for al-Jazeera, but said the deal would fall through if Annan couldn’t get the opposition to sign on. “A plan wouldn’t be successful unless everybody is committed to it,” one official said.

In a briefing today, Annan urged the Security Council to support the April 10 deadline. But he added that there had been “no progress” in implementing the plan, which calls for the UN to monitor a ceasefire, as soldiers and heavy weaponry are pulled out of cities. US ambassador Susan Rice emerged from the meeting sounding less than reassured. “We have seen promises made and promises broken,” she told the BBC. Past experience “would lead us to be skeptical.”

personally….it is a delaying tactic….Assad wants time to re-group and then push forward……