The road to recovery will be long even under the best of circumstances: a ceasefire that occurs within the next few months and that lasts; a stable, legitimate, and efficient post-war polity; and abundant long-term economic aid from other countries.
Obama's proposal to take sides in the Syrian war is wrong. It is arrogant. It ignores our destructive history in the Middle East and the perception by all parties in the region that everything we do there is motivated by our blatant bias toward Israel.
For all the ballyhooed determination to stand up for democratic change in the Middle East and pledges to never stand by when tens of thousands of innocent people are being massacred, Syria will regretably prove to be a major policy reversal on both counts.
Assad's enemies may very well be America's enemies. The fact is, we do not know. By flooding the region with heavy weapons, we risk inadvertently arming those who ultimately seek to do our nation harm.
The war in Syria is part of a broader geopolitical trend. Beyond the internal partie, regional and global players with different shades of policy and self-interest make this more than a civil war; it has become an increasingly widening world war, if still only by proxy.
Absent constructive engagement by the U.S., I am very concerned that the killing in Syria will continue and extremists will play an increasingly influential role in determining that country's future, resulting in very negative implications for the region.