June 28th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Circling the wagons on Syria

By Fareed Zakaria for TIME

What to do in Syria? Western military intervention looks fraught with difficulties, but the situation on the ground is a humanitarian nightmare and is producing greater instability by the week. A recent trip to Turkey and Russia has persuaded me that there might be a path forward. The pressures on Bashar Assad's regime are real and mounting; it is running out of cash and now faces real military pressures from Turkey. These pressures could be heightened and combined with smart diplomacy, and they could push Assad out of power. But that would mean trying to work with the Russian government rather than attacking it.

The U.S. has been bashing Russia for shielding Assad, coddling an ally at the cost of human lives and arming the Syrian military. Some of this is true, some false, and much is exaggeration. But all is unhelpful if the goal is to oust Assad. Unless the U.S. intends to ask Iran for help, Russia is the only country with any influence with the Syrian regime.

Read more of the column at TIME

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Topics: Syria • Time Magazine

soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Me

    Its truly amazing how foolish we as a people have become. In my country, there's a funny thing that can happen. If an hungry person steals a dough nut, he's gonna go to jail for 15 years. A politician steals a billion dollars and he may actually walk free or tops get 3 years in jail. Bankers in your countries are robbing you dry, and yet they are walking free, and actually gets bailed out too... those same people are sponsoring wars through your military across the world in the name of democracy, killing and destroying families.. and you guys are here talking about sunni and shia age old wars. who are arming the parties? drone strikes in countries suspected of harboring terrorists, killing innocent people and yet clinton is talking about blood on who's hands? look guys, make your leaders responsible, stop them from spending all the money on weapons and use some to take care of your obviously suffering society. believe me, no body is interesting in harming america. its your war machine that is destroying everyone's lives; and yours as well. most people just want to live their lives on their own terms. you are been lied to everyday and obviously you have still not gotten smart enough wake up you dumb fuks!!!

    July 2, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  2. nc1965

    Headline: How to avoid a wider war in Syria

    Simple: bribe Russia. This country is a money w h o r e, not a democracy, and will sell to the highest bidder.

    If you want to stop the Syrian crisis, show Russia the money.

    To them money talks but B S doesn't walk.

    July 2, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Andrey

      US is a country known for making enemies and buying friends.
      Why would not they try to do something different for once.
      For some reason they believe it is the smart thing to do.
      Makes me sad.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  3. Here we go again

    The US should stop trying to be the world's hall monitor and start cooperating with other countries on resolutions to these humanitarian issues. What happened in iraq, with us going in alone, should never happen again. It is not right for the US to shoulder everything- the costs, the blame, the loss of human life.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • matt in nw

      agree 100% ..... for the very reasons you said. also it would help for us to remove the deeply entrenched career politicians from washington that seem to get us involved in global crap because of some corporate interests ...by way of term limits...remove lobbyists ..IF we did this maybe we could focus on our own country- and people for a change.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  4. Tahir

    The problem of Syria is that USA do not like Assad and it wants to remove Assad.It is sad that so many people are dieing only to fulfill the desire of US people.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • RebelSyrian

      because Assad is Dictator and a criminal against humanity .

      July 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • matt in nw

      the US isnt involved, at all...and it should stay that way. I like how people blame us for everything....take some responibility for your own actions for once...leave us out of it!!!

      July 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  5. matt in nw

    Its time that the world takes care of its self...... Its not up to the US to topple anyone..... Russia and China (and the World) are alway critical of the US and its actions.....time to see how THEY do on the world stage....or will they leave it to us because no one else can take the garanteed firestorm of criticism that will always follow.

    I and preety sure 95% of americans are bloody tired of being dragged into every conflict on the globe, either by our own self serving leaders or a world that sits on its hands waiting for 'someone else' to step in because their re afraid of being wrong.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      They will leave it to you: because they do not have the ambition to police the world. There is nothing outside that makes you do it: it is all inside your head.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
      • matt in nw

        already many around the world are wondering why we are sitting idle 'letting this happen'.

        the US is alway damned we do. and damned if we dont.... all in our heads? I wish......

        July 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • Andrey

        Yes Matt, that is what your "free press" tells you.

        July 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  6. WhenWillWeEverLearn

    I don't know Syria from Lebanon, but I'm familiar with American politics. If the conflict in Syria is anywhere as toxic as US partisan politics, I say stay clear, I wouldn't touch that third rail with an army of 10-foot Poles! In defense of Mr. Zakaria, I must say that his essays are usually intelligent and reasonable.

    July 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  7. Burst Bubble

    Just because Zakaria sounds reasonable doesn't mean we need to get involved. The UN is meddling is something it shouldn't. I agree with the Russians on this one. The Syrian issues is their problem. It is what Cilvil wars are about. The people want change and the leadership doesn't. I am seeing a pattern here and it is the UN meddling in sovereign countries problems. Are we really going to have a new world order? If the UN keeps this up, I bet we will.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:04 am | Reply
  8. KEVIN

    Fareed, you are super brilliant. But I believe it is none of our business who wins this civil war in Syria (Russia and China also believes this) It is only the West who wishes to pick a side.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:45 am | Reply
  9. tre truth

    We should give weapons and supplies to a bunch of Muslims. I mean worked out last time didn't it?

    July 3, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
    • Burst Bubble

      You are so right, muslims already have guns but just like their pikes they are toooo smallll.
      Lets give them big ones.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  10. BlogMediator

    You know what, we have ever increasing umemployment in this country, resulting in a continuation of an unstable economy and threatening to lower our hard-earned standard of living that we as Americans have come to expect for ourselves and our children and we are concerning ourselves with Syria?!!! Stay the hell out of it! Bring our soldiers home and put all this ridiculous military funding into massive civilian projects to build up our nfrastructure. We need jobs on American soil for American people!

    July 7, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply
  11. Th true Blogg Mediator

    Blog mediators do not join in the conversation.
    Go back to your mullah or imam and tell him you are a miserable failure.
    Maybe your next assignment should be as a suicide bomber.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  12. Put Syria on Backburner, Focus On India

    India has become too big to govern or create any value for western countries or even for its own population. We have invested a lot of resources in India over the past two decades and given a lot of aid to prop it up. There has been no investment on this return. Instead India has squandered all the resources in building nuclear weapons while poverty remains rampant in the country. We need to revisit our relationship with India. American taxpayers will not tolerate this anymore. We need to take care of our own populace going forward. We cannot be exporting jobs to India or giving it financial or technical handouts.

    July 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • Put Syria on Backburner, Focus On India

      The thesis is that smaller independent states will generate tremendous economic demand for western nations.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Global Democratic Government Inc._ GDG ©

      We subscribe to the school of thought that these G2/8/20 etc, IMF, World Bank, superpowers and UN et al have lived their utility and should be undone. Syria is the latest example of why. Syrians are being massacred while everyone is watching. Helpless...powerless...pathetic.
      An elected world government should emerge based on democratic principles of one person one vote. There will be no veto powers. The center of seat will be based in developing countries

      July 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  13. Syrian Shawarma

    We agree with Global Democratic Government Inc._ GDG © premise that an elected world government should emerge based on democratic principles of one person one vote. There will be no veto powers. The center of seat will be based in developing countries. This will be in lieu of G2/8/20 etc, IMF, World Bank, superpowers and UN.

    July 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
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    July 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Reply
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