But politicians seem more concerned about U.S. credibility than suffering Syrians. So what's next for Washington? If I were president, I'd try to carefully navigate between two horrendous mistakes my predecessors made.
Until recently, life was normal in the busy northern city of Aleppo, popularly referred to as the "industrial capital" of Syria. Then, revolt reached Aleppo, signalling a major challenge for Syrian rebels struggling to topple 49 years of Baath rule.
The failure to renew the diplomatic mission being led by Kofi Annan (with its associated group of observers) is no great loss. The peace plan under which Annan was operating had and has no chance of being accepted.