Obama administration policy toward Syria is a slow train wreck. Unremitting pressure from war-minded elites is pushing President Barack Obama closer to military intervention in the bloody civil war. Yet getting involved would be a fool's errand.
The battle for Syria demonstrates that what started as a peaceful call for change can lead to the disintegration of an entire country, and creation of a new geopolitical reality. If it can happen in Syria, it can and will certainly happen elsewhere.
Administration officials keep gravitating to the simplistic assertion that when it comes to Syria, there is no Plan B since Plan B may compel direct military intervention. But I can drive a ten-wheeler between existing U.S. policy and putting boots on Syrian ground.
An absence of imaginative, strategic diplomacy as the year-long crisis in Syria unfolded has caught the U.S. with dwindling options as the oxymoronic UN ceasefire collapses. Consequences abound as a result for U.S. interests across the region.
Syria is headed down the path of a protracted, disastrous civil war that could last for another year or more. This revolution has been mismanaged from its inception and if drastic measures aren't taken to change course it will be a disaster.
The world must not allow the Syrian crisis to "play itself out," as some analysts have suggested: This threat to the country's minorities (many of whom are unarmed) is simply too great, and the consequences too severe, to play this sort of Russian roulette on a national-societal scale.
The Friends of Syria conference didn't address demands for regime change. Instead it sought the minimum: allowance for humanitarian aid. But Syria isn't pleading for aid from the international community.
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.
Is there any way to "break" the regime's so-called "iron hand" short of outside Libya-style military intervention, which is just not in the cards for both practical military and diplomatic reasons? So far, there really is no light at the end of this tunnel.
With each passing day, the reasons for avoiding intervention in Syria are falling by the wayside. The conflict is escalating, the humanitarian crisis is deepening, the opposition is organizing, and the geopolitical situation is becoming more favorable.
Burhan Ghalioun, a potential leader of the new, post-Assad Syria, took the plunge this week and declared that the new regime will cut off relations with Iran, and stop the arms supplies to both Hamas and Hezbollah.