Frederic C. Hof: Syria: What Next? – The Atlantic Council
As was the case in the last century when American presidents attempted to look the other way when governments elected to slaughter their own citizens, the president can fall back on a solid wall of public and congressional disinclination toward involvement in someone else’s problem. Presidential leadership has always been the key variable in saving lives and catalyzing requisite political changes.
Saving innocent lives is not, however, a universal motivator. So put humanitarian considerations aside: what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria. The gap in Syrian policy between US words and deeds surely has not imposed limits on Vladimir Putin’s dangerous and destabilizing behavior in Europe. And if his current offensive in Syria sends yet more waves of refugees in the direction of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Western Europe, we should not expect Russia’s leader to lose sleep. Barack Obama may not be the only one hoping to leave office before the piper is paid. Russia may be dying, but Putin’s nationalist show of military aggression may buy him a few years in the saddle. Still, it is extraordinarily dangerous. It is a threat to the peace.
From: Syria: What Next?