Syria: The Proxy Battlefield Between the United States and Iran

“Fact is, the American mission in Syria is almost over. ISIS has been physically decimated there. Al-Nusra and other groups are weak and will likely soon be finished off by the Russo-Iranian-Assad-Turkey alliance. We have thus far lost nothing in Syria. Going for broke and allowing for mission creep to set in, converting the limited American mission in Syria into a limitless campaign against either Iran or Russia would mean committing the United States to a world war that will eventuate in a nuclear exchange. “

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Another Flashy U.S. Attack on Assad Will Make America Look Weak

“If Trump does what Bolton and the others are warning, then America will look weak and it will become mired in another Iraq War. What’s more, threatening a world war with nuclear-armed Russia over humanitarian interests is a foolish endeavor of the sort usually reserved for navel-gazing academics, like former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, not a freewheeling businessman, like Donald Trump. “

Russia Derangement Syndrome: Syria Edition

“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).

It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”

Potential Chinese Intervention in Syria is About Access to the Mediterranean Sea

“Syria’s proximity to Europe is also beneficial because the Chinese are seeking to not only tie together as much of Eurasia as possible through trade, but they want to do so in a way that a) undermines the influence of the United States and b) reduces the military threat the United States poses to Chinese interests.”

Syria is a Successful and Sustainable Model? Don’t Make Me Laugh

“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”

Indecision Over Syria Creates More Problems, Not Less

“The idea that the United States would not retaliate against Assad is disturbing, because it sends a signal to the Israelis and our Sunni Arab partners that we really don’t have a backbone when dealing with Iran (which is what this is really all about). It will force them to take a hard look at whether they will stick their proverbial necks out for us in fighting to maintain a regional order that favors American preferences over those of the Russians and Chinese. We can–and should–draw down most of our 2,200 men in Syria. But, we should also strike back at Assad’s forces for conducting the chemical weapons attack. We cannot encourage, or appear to be encouraging, the use of WMD in such an unstable world. It sets a bad precedent and sends mixed signals to our allies, and also signals to North Korea that we really aren’t serious about upholding non-proliferation policies.”

What Happens in a Massive Coalition Airstrike On Assad’s Forces in Syria?

“American war planners in the Trump Administration must, therefore, opt to hit Assad’s air force, but to leave him enough capabilities that he has a reasonable chance at stemming the jihadist surge that will inevitably come from the American air campaign. Trump must also use the 2,200 American troops in Syria as a bargaining chip to get Russia and Turkey to pull both Iran and Assad himself back from the hostilities, and help to create a negotiated settlement that not only ended the conflict, but helped to establish a more stable political environment in Syria.”

President Trump is Right to Strike Again at Assad

“No, it is not in America’s interest to simply ignore Assad’s repeated chemical weapons use, or to empower his regime — at the expense of our regional allies. That would actually force America to expand its role in the Mideast at precisely the time it needs to reduce its physical presence there. Thus, a retaliatory — proportional — strike against Assad for his chemical weapons attack would be a justified use of American force (and would actually solidify America’s position in the region, without expanding our role there).”

Bomb Assad but Bring the Boys Home

“The president should strike back against Bashar al-Assad for having committed this brazen act of genocide. But, he should also go to Putin and Erdogan—cutting out the Iranians completely—and offer to reduce American presence in Syria in exchange for them forcing Assad (and Iran) to end the civil war peacefully.”