Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bad Choices for Syria

This morning's twitter feed is chock full of very smart people being very frustrated by the bad choices that face the international community as it seeks to address Syria:
  • Dan Drezner invokes Sherlock Holmes and the mantra about eliminating the impossible leaves you with the improbable: arming the Syrian opposition.
  • Daniel Trombly at Slouching Towards Columbia has a longer post that exhausts the options and takes a look at the bright side of a Syrian civil war serving as a drain on Iran.  The conclusion: "When faced with the choice between assuming unacceptable risk or making a grand scheme dependent on events largely out of our control, nothing beyond limited means for limited ends is an responsible use of U.S. power."
  • Marc Lynch argues that arming the Syrian rebels is a bad idea
  • Joshua Foust argues it is a really bad idea.
I really do not know what to advocate (the folks I consider to be very smart are in serious disagreement).  Yes, I supported the effort in Libya, but it seemed at the time and was eventually shown to be the case that it was possible to end the Qaddafi regime without invading.  I guess I am just more skeptical about the utility of force in this case.  All I am certain of is that this is a really hard problem and no simple solutions or even convoluted ones are likely to be all that appealing.

All we can really do is be smug that the Russians and the Chinese come out looking like fans of autocracy.

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