Revelations that the Russian Foreign Minister and Hillary Clinton agreed that Washington would refrain from intervening in Syria if Russia secured Bashar Assad's chemical weapons demonstrated how compromise unavoidably attends American efforts to spread humanitarian ideals globally.
If our government wants to draw an arbitrary, rather hypocritical line in the sand at Assad's use of chemical weapons, fine. If we're going to bring the world back to its senses, we have to start somewhere. But I would apply two caveats.
Syria endures as one of the world's greatest cultural crossroads. Its architectural and archeological record lends dignity and pride of place to its citizens. The question today is, can this precious national patrimony survive another year or even a few more months?
For many people around the world, Syria's civil war might not appear to have particular significance for them. Yet the troubles in Syria could quickly escalate, causing very real consequences felt worldwide.
As a free Egypt transforms itself, analysts are nervously watching for signs of new nuclear ambitions. Why has Egypt never come clean about the full scope of its nuclear activities and experimentation?
Instead of fixating on outrage over a mosque in New York, perhaps we should all be more focused on an issue that actually saves lives by protecting millions of Americans who remain at risk from chemical disasters.