Happy Ending for Assad?

Amazingly, the U.S. and Russia have come to an agreement; this could be described as face-saving for the U.S. and life-saving from Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and Russia have agreed that Syria will have until mid-2014 to turn over and destroy all of it chemical weapons. Wonderful — except for the details. How will the U.S verify that ALL of Assad’s chemical weapons are gone (these things can be hidden, after all)? More important, what happens in the next 18 months in Syria’s civil war? The U.S. now seems to have tied its hands; it may have reserved the right to intervene but on what grounds can it do so now, if the slaughter of 100,000 Syrians was not sufficient?

Assad and his allies, Iran and Russia, now seem to have a green light to do whatever it takes, short of WMD, to suppress the rebellion, while the U.S. sits on the sidelines.

History will view the U.S. very badly for this, I fear; and the irony is that the very same people who decried U.S. inaction in the face of genocide in Rwanda — Samantha Power and Susan Rice — will be judged as being part of another administration’s inaction while many tens of thousands perished.

About jackgoldstone

Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University
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