From The Atlantic: ‘Aleppo Is Falling‘
‘Russia needs President Assad to enter into serious political talks with the opposition to reunite Syria. Problem is, President Assad has been adamant he’s not interested in that. An early challenge of the Trump administration will be how to wheel and deal to split Russia and Iran apart in Syria.’
This blog’s take: Libya was chosen as a place for ‘kinetic military action’ under the current American administration, while the thornier, nastier problem of Syria was left to unfold with little to no American leadership/involvement. It’s unclear what could be done/what would have happened with more American/leadership involvement, and at what cost to American interests.
What has happened is that Assad, with the help of Iran and Russia, (the old Moscow/Damascus/Tehran alliance) has clung to power and now crushed the resistance /opposition in Aleppo while an enormous humanitarian/refugee crisis has unfolded, affecting both Europe and the U.S. to some degree (the rise of ISIS controlled-territory, and the exodus of millions of refugees causing immigration/terrorism issues with which the West has had to deal).
American influence and legitimacy has eroded, giving legitimacy to the mullahs in Iran, cementing-in Assad and his chemical weapons, allowing the expansion of ISIS fighters, and giving credence to Putin’s something-very-much-resembling-an-autocracy.
Many Western humanists/peace advocates/Left idealists who wish to use American military strength and/or the authority of international institutions to put Western peace ideals into practice, usually presuming the universality of those ideals, are rather silent at the moment (this blog doubts very much that radical activists of the Western Left would actually govern peacefully, should they more than temporarily gain control of the Western institutions whose moral legitimacy they usually stand against..).
Addition: Obviously many, many people are not on the Western, radical Left, and I should add that I’m really not persuaded by much in the way of action these days…I’m sure I’m not alone.
As previously posted:
A quote from Hill’s forward to Ajami’s new book on Syria as discussed in the video:
“[The] greatest strategic challenge of the twenty-first century is involves “reversing Islamic radicalism”‘
Both men wanted to see more leadership out of the exiting administration. They both argued that there needed to have been American led involvement of some sort in Syria. It’s a bad neighborhood, and we had to provide leadership and side with the rebels as best we could.
Hill pushed further to suggest that if America didn’t lead onto a new set of challenges that faced the West, then Europe surely wasn’t capable of leading either. If we didn’t strike out on our own as Truman did with bold leadership after World War II, we would end a generations long experiment in American exceptionalism. If we didn’t lead, someone who doesn’t share our values would lead, according to both men.
As previously posted: Richard Epstein ‘Barack vs. Bibi:’ takes the classical liberal, non anti-war libertarian position:
‘In the end, it is critical to understand that the current weaknesses in American foreign policy stem from the President’s adamant reluctance to commit to the use of American force in international relations, whether with Israel, Iran or with ISIS. Starting from that position, the President has to make huge unilateral concessions, and force his allies to do the same thing. Right now his only expertise is leading from behind. The President has to learn to be tough in negotiations with his enemies. Right now, sadly, he has demonstrated that toughness only in his relationships with America’s friends and allies.’
More Syria-From Via Media: ‘Congress on Syria: Going In On A Wing and A Prayer’…From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’
Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’…A Few More Syria Links-’Unmitigated Clusterf**k?’…
Another Addition: Israel, Iran, & Peace: Andrew Sullivan Responds To Charges Of Potential Anti-Semitism…Some Saturday Links On Iran-Skepticism, To Say The Least George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’ So what are our interests and how do we secure them as the fires in the Middle-East rage? Michael Totten makes a case here in Why We Can’t Leave The Middle-East.’ He gets push-back in the comments
From Via Media-Obama’s Syria Play A Failure
Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”…From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’…
Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’…Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’…Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others…