By Fareed Zakaria
Obama may have spoken too loosely about a “red line” in Syria. But the most damaging thing he could do now would be to take action simply to follow through. One does not correct for careless language through careless military action.
Syria is a humanitarian nightmare, which the United States should do more to address. Washington should help create and sustain more havens — in Jordan and elsewhere — for refugees and should coordinate with other countries to get aid in faster and more effectively to those in need. It is trying to bring the various rebel groups into a more coherent opposition movement, though that is a daunting challenge.
But we must understand that the Syrian conflict is fundamentally a civil war between a minority elite and the long-oppressed majority — similar to those in Lebanon and Iraq. People fight to the end because they know that losers in such wars get killed or “ethnically cleansed.” The only path to peace in such circumstances is through a political accord among the parties.