Hva skal vi gjøre med Syria?

Michael J Totten

I’m spen­ding nearly all my time and atten­tion on Egypt right now, and I’ll pub­lish some mate­rial from Cairo here shortly, but since the U.S. Embassy was just attacked in Dama­scus I figure I should direct your atten­tion to what Claire Ber­lin­ski just wrote at Ricochet.

No one in his or her right mind thinks we should “attack Syria.” That’s not an option, though every plan­ner in our govern­ment needs to be wor­king around the clock to figure out what the mili­tary options are if Syria attacks one of its neigh­bors, which dying regi­mes often do. But some things are obvious: We take a stand that at least hints that we know what we’re dea­ling with.

Expel the Syrian ambas­sador. Kick out the entire Syrian embassy staff–no diplo­ma­tic rela­tions. Wit­hdraw our ambas­sador. Get Ame­ri­can citizens out of that coun­try: How long do you think it will be before we have a hos­tage cri­sis that limits our options even furt­her? Mobi­lize a com­p­lete Euro­pean boycott of the regime: I sus­pect the French are con­vin­ced. No more phone calls to Assad. No more visits. No rec­og­nition. Inter­na­tio­nal pariah sta­tus. Freeze every asset we can freeze. Use the ICC. Put pub­lic pres­sure on the Arab League–make it clear who’s prop­ping him up. Stop, com­pletely, with the fan­tasy rhe­to­ric about reform–it won’t hap­pen, and the lan­guage sig­nals that we are living in an alter­nate rea­lity. Stop say­ing that mili­tary inter­ven­tion is not on the table: Don’t tip your hand, for God’s sake. Let Assad worry about what we might do. Go to the Security Coun­cil: If the Rus­si­ans and the Chinese veto a reso­lu­tion, at least the Syrian people will see who’s really back­ing Assad.

Here’s our real-world goal: To visibly dis­tance ours­el­ves from the Assad regime in every con­ceivable diplo­ma­tic, eco­no­mic and rhe­to­ri­cal way we can, sup­port the oppo­sition in every con­ceivable diplo­ma­tic, eco­no­mic and rhe­to­ri­cal way we can, and to leave the world won­de­ring whether we just might be crazy enough to rain destruc­tion on the pre­si­den­tial palace.

Right now, the IHH is lead­ing the way in pro­vi­ding assi­stance to the Syrian oppo­sition. Not us. Tur­key is hos­ting the con­fe­ren­ces for the oppo­sition, not us. I’m sure the logic is, “We should keep a low pro­file, let Assad get angry at Tur­key, not us. It’s not in our inte­rest to look involved.” I’ve got an impor­tant tip for people who think this: People in this region are not stu­pid. We look involved alre­ady. We just look like we’re fools at best, on the wrong side at worst.

What Should We Do About Syria?

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