June 23rd, 2013
12:59 AM ET

The problem with Obama's Syria policy

In Syria, the interventionists have lofty ends but no one wants to use the means necessary to achieve them. So we are now giving arms to the opposition and hoping it will bring the regime to the negotiating table. But, as Huntington observed, "military forces are not primarily instruments of communication to convey signals to an enemy; they are instead instruments of coercion to compel him to alter his behavior." This reminds one of the strategy of the Johnson administration in Vietnam, use force to pressure the enemy to negotiate. But the enemy is fighting to win- not to play a negotiating game.

The chance that our current efforts in Syria will do enough to achieve even our objectives is small. Eventually, the contradictions in U.S. policy will emerge and the Obama administration will face calls from people like John McCain for further escalation.

They should resist them; and it's possible that they will.

Read the Washington Post column for more on this.

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Topics: GPS Show

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Joe M.

    This is absolute stupidity at it's very worst! We need to take over Syria like we need an earthquake in Manhattan! The only way we can help Syria and it's people is to just simply BUTT OUT, period! The more we interfere, the worse it will be for the average Syrian!

    June 23, 2013 at 2:55 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      What Obama's doing with Syria – arming the rebels with light weaponry – is just a drop in the ocean and wouldn't tip the scales. It's like doing things by halves and is a bad idea. But he has no choice. He senses the war-fatique of the American people and fears of an over-commitment.

      June 24, 2013 at 5:17 am | Reply
  2. Ferhat Balkan

    The problem with Russia and China's Syria policy is Assad's unwillingness to step down and the fact that he doesn't understand the language of diplomacy. The obvious problem here is inaction. There are 100,000 dead and over 1,000,000 displaced from their homes which will only get worse if we just sit around and do nothing.

    June 23, 2013 at 3:31 am | Reply
    • Quigley

      Please Ferhat, will you kindly quit vomiting out your ignorance on this web page about jumping into Syria's civil war? This right-wing, "let's get involved" stupidity gets awfully old. We have absolutely no business in Syria, none at all!

      June 23, 2013 at 11:21 am | Reply
  3. Kitchener Ontario

    Heard Obama kept 1000 combat ready soldiers + F-16's + Patriot Missiles in Jordan and they won't leave until the situation has improved.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:07 am | Reply
    • Quigley

      Another idiotic comment from another warmongering Tea Partier. This is why we can't balance the national budget since we keep giving away our tax dollars to leeches like this King Abdullah of Jordan!

      June 23, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
  4. rightospeak

    The human tragedy in Syria is a game that Obama is unlikely to win . He can just simply declare peace and look like a hero , he can even declare himself one saving thousands of lives. What National Security objectives does the Syria conflict have for the US ? What is a shame, is the misery and death it brought to hundreds -the ruling elites have no heart, no soul. They only care for profits-simply evil.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:02 am | Reply
  5. pleasecontinue

    I'm very disappointed that this show was usurped by CNN coverage about Snowden. There isn't anything being said about him that could not have been said in one sentence. If you want to cover him, don't tell us over and over where he's going and speculate about why without any facts to back up this speculation. Instead, give us real information that would help us decide how we should judge his actions and the actions of our government. I watch Fareed every Saturday and if I miss his show I read the transcript and I am very frustrated with the "breaking news" that usurped the show today.

    June 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  6. JAL

    What is the effect of an unwillingness to create significant economic partnerships following a fallen dictatorship? And what about the unwillingness itself? America is about prosperity through aiding, working alongside and helping others. That is the true power of America.

    June 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • JAL

      When we are young, we are conditioned to enjoy our birthdays through celebration. This is a good thing, because as we get older, birthdays just become less fun. Luckily though, we had good birthdays in our youth, and it reminds us where our focus needs to be: celebrating life, not focusing on death or getting older. I say this because it is all about where we choose to put our focus: economic growth or war, life or death. I choose to focus on life and growth, mostly because it is way funner

      June 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply

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