As the situation continues to spiral out of control, adult supervision is desperately needed. And this is a role that the U.S. (with the Arab League and Turkey) and Russia and China can attempt to play.
The Gulf-Western alliance has taken the decision to confront Russia on the issue of Syria, and it presumes that the regime will be gone by the end of the year. Indeed, the strategy to implement this has been set in motion.
After the campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, there's no excuse for not thinking hard about unforeseen developments and about whether there exists the requisite will to deal with them if they materialize.
The U.N. General Assembly told the Syrian government to stop shooting unarmed protestors and isolated its key supporter, Russia, in adopting a resolution that had at least 137 "yes" votes and only 12 against.
When it comes to international peace and security, the United Nations is notably lacking in power. Its resolutions along these lines are often ignored or go unenforced. Frequently, they are not even adopted.
This indeed is the most important card Putin holds: the fact that Obama will not go to war in Syria, that he will not go to war in Iran, and that it is out of the question for him to escalate against Russia or China -- he, the advocate of peace.
It seems like a small story -- local politics in an island nation at the edge of the map. But it is typical of the sort of dynamics that are seriously undermining western security in a critical period.
If the Obama administration continues on its present course and does not confront the Russian-Syrian arms transfers with tougher resolve, it won't be merely "leading from behind"; it will be turning its back on the growing humanitarian catastrophe.
Today, Russia finds itself in a state of calculated siege, emerging through the new semi-alliance between the Americans -- and the West in general -- and the Islamists. The Barack Obama administration seems to be at the forefront of this new alliance.
The Security Council is only going to move as far as its most cautious major member can go. At this stage, that means an endorsement of the Arab League's initiative in facilitating the Syrian political groupings' agreement on the country's political reconstruction.
Western nations in the U.N. Security Council have two choices on Syria: soften the wording on their resolution that asks the Syrian president to delegate his "full authority" to his deputy or face a Russian-Chinese veto.
Time has run out for President Assad. Following the mass killings, suffering and deprivation of basic human rights that the Assad regime has perpetrated on his people, under no circumstances will Assad be able to restore his legitimacy as a ruler.