Vision, strategy, and courage might have prevented the disaster we see today in Syria. But those elements were nowhere to be found.
LONDON — The Middle East is in flames. Just as Iraq was President George W. Bush’s catastrophic legacy, Syria will be Obama’s. Bush’s sins of commission wrought no less chaos than Obama’s sins of omission. If the Stop the War lobby’s primary motive was to avoid civilian casualties, then by any standard they should slither away shamefully into voluntarily redundancy.
By latest human rights accounts, Syria’s five-year civil war has left 470,000 dead. To add to our disgrace, we don’t even know how accurate these figures are because—as if in despair—the United Nations gave up collecting statistics 18 months ago. Syria has spiraled into the biggest humanitarian, political and security challenge of our time. The Cuban Missile crisis of 2016.
Last week in Munich, the “well-meaning but under-powered” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry optimistically announced a temporary ceasefire, leading up to UN-brokered peace talks scheduled for Feb. 25. Onlookers meanwhile, wondered what sort of “cessation of hostilities” allows Russia to continue hostilities, and questioned whether depressing realities on the ground truly reflect Kerry’s sleight of hand.