Monday, September 28, 2015

Putin vs. Obama on Syria

In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad who drop barrel bombs to massacre innocent civilians because the alternative is surely worse. . . . Let’s remember how this started. Assad reacted to peaceful protest by escalating repression and killing and in turn created the environment for the current strife.
We think it’s an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face.

There is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism.
I do understand the reluctance to cooperate with Assad -- he is a vicious thug, plus our allies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Israel all really hate him and would be furious if we gave him even verbal assistance.

But so far as I can see, he is the only alternative to the Islamic State; our wishing for a moderate government in Syria won't make it happen. I worry that the longer we indulge this fantasy of a moderate Syria, the more likely it is that Hillary or Marco Rubio will end up ordering in American troops in a doomed attempt to make a democratic phoenix rise from Syria's ashes.

Plus, while we fret about Assad, the government we created in Iraq -- who are actually threatened by the Islamic State, and can't just sit around wishing for better options-- just signed a deal to cooperate with Assad, Putin and Iran against the jihadists.

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