April 6, 2013
What Do We Want Done in Syria?
A maxim in the United States Army is, "Don't tell a soldier to do something; tell him what you want done." President Roosevelt didn't tell General Eisenhower to cross the English Channel; he told him to obtain the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. A counterexample can be found in the way that the United States has squandered American influence because the Obama Administration failed to determine what it wanted done in Syria. In an odd twist, given the president's desire to boost U.S.-Russian relations, the Russians might have helped, but we didn't ask. There is no shortage of voices yelling, "Do something!" Calls to train and/or arm "the rebels"; establish "no fly" zones and/or safe havens; provide non-lethal and/or humanitarian aid; eliminate Syrian air defenses and/or take direct action under the rubric of R2P are all permutations of "doing." It would have been legitimate for the U.S. to do any of those things, or all or none of them -- whichever advanced our goals. But...(Read Full Article)