Follow the war in Syria and the debate over a U.S. (international?) response with these starting points:
- Syria-The Essentials: Start by reviewing this extensive discussion that pulls together all the pieces of information by William Polk, a former Kennedy official on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff. He starts with what has been reported, what we think we know, who the key players are, pro/con on the attack, and more scrupulously reported details.
- Whither Congress? An earlier briefing–also pointed out by the Atlantic’s James Fallows, explores what the U.S. Congress should do. Is President Obama dithering, pondering, or calculating? This question won’t be answered anytime soon; we are still writing the history in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Can diplomacy work? This is how wars ultimately end–but can some smart work upfront payoff strategically as well as save lives? A few major challenges: engaging Russia and Iran and making Geneva II work.
- What will intervention bring? Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador makes the case that it “could make matters worse.” It could also make diplomacy more effective.
- What are U.S. strategic options? Containment, reconciliation, or neutrality according to David Brooks. Vali Nasr advises a fatal wound to the Assad regime. The saddest strategy in the true realist/Kissingerian tradition comes via Edward Luttwak who suggests the US wants to see a draw in Syria.
- Legal dimensions? And last but not least, is an intervention justified or legal (more on the UN Charter and rule of law)? Moral? (Who will be the Antigone in Damascus?)