By Fareed Zakaria
What remains unclear in all of this is, What exactly is the goal of this military action? The administration says it is simply to reinforce a global norm against the use of chemical weapons. But is it really just that? Were the Syrian civil war to continue, Assad to gain the upper hand and tens of thousands more to die—but without the further use of chemical weapons—would the Administration really say, “Mission accomplished”?
The reality is, the U.S. has now put its credibility on the line. It will find it extremely difficult to keep its actions limited in a volatile situation. And were it to succeed in ousting al-Assad, it would be implicated in the next phase of this war, which would almost certainly lead to chaos and the slaughter or ethnic cleansing of the Alawite sect (to which al-Assad belongs) and perhaps of other minorities, as happened in Iraq.