I’d say the chances of missile strikes are now less than one in ten. The sudden turn of events has already led the Syrian government to reverse its longstanding policy of denying that it possesses chemical weapons, a situation that would have Monty Python-like possibilities if not for the daily horrors. That move suggests the better possibilities of diplomacy. …
[E]ven if the plan works, Syria will be no closer to the fall of Assad or to his negotiated departure. The killing will go on. Death by gas might be taken off the table, but children and other human beings, by the thousands, will still be pulverized in indiscriminate shelling and burned to death by incendiary devices. There will be more to celebrate in Washington and at the United Nations than in Homs and Aleppo.
In the strange period since August 21st, when the poison gas attacks took place, the White House has seemed incapable of strategic thinking. The State Department seems incapable of coherent communication. Republicans who never raised a question about Iraq are now in full flight from the use of force because they don’t like the Commander-in-Chief. The United Nations can’t bring itself to condemn chemical weapons regardless of who’s using them. Assad’s war crime has turned into Obama’s embarrassment. Everything is upside down; nothing seems to be working as it should.
— A Cause Already Lost | The New Yorker (via kateoplis)
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
— Putin on American exceptionalism and Syria | NYT (via kateoplis)
Although, if you’re Russian and not heterosexual…
Maybe he made some good points in the abstract, but it sounds too sculpted, accommodating (e.g. appeal to
‘God’). Basically, this is disingenuous, coming from Putin. Be hard to convince me that he doesn’t believe his ideal Russia is exceptional above all else.
Breaking news: Syrian forces fired mortars on a Turkish town along their shared border that killed 5. Turkey responded by firing at “Syrian targets”. So reports CNN’s Ivan Watson.
If Turkey gets actively involved, is this then the beginning of the end of Assad, if it hasn’t already been set in motion?
"The Syrian administration is tyrannical and not just. Turkey will be in solidarity with our brothers in Syria until a new regime is in place…We will offer all the possible support to liberate the Syrians from dictatorship."
— Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the aftermath of a Turkish recon plane being shot down by Syria
Dear US gov,
If you’re in the bombing mood, how about instead of bombing Iran and more than likely destroying innocent lives and starting a regional inferno, bomb Syria, i.e. Assad’s military assets in particular and save innocent lives? The world and the Syrian people loathe him (well, except China and esp. Russia, and Russia “elected” Putin again and have their own problems…). The Libyan precedent—while not exactly the same—worked out pretty well. I might actually be agreeing with John McCain generally in that regard, but I’m sure McCain is all for attacking Iran as well, so whatever. (I would actually like to see another global framework to act on Syria like the one instituted in Libya, but it doesn’t appear likely, and Syrian civilians are being massacred every day.)
This drumbeat Israel is laying down is nauseating. The US needs to get Israel out of its ear—ally or no—and, quite frankly, stop being such a control freak in the world.