First: so long as civilians are targeted effortlessly by a terrorist regime, nothing good can result; not for Syrians, not for their neighbors, not for the West.
Second, the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) offers a one-time, perishable opportunity to produce a visible, functioning alternative to Bashar al-Assad: precisely the thing whose absence accounts for ongoing regime support by a significant minority of Syrians.
Part one of “Syria at Seven” addresses the geopolitical importance of pushing back against the slaughter of civilians in Syria. Part two will examine making something of lasting value from the defeat of ISIS.
“If the mass murder of Syrian civilians continues—and especially if Russian pilots participate in it—Washington and its partners may safely conclude with respect to Russian benign intentions in Syria what Gertrude Stein saw in Oakland, California: ‘There’s no there there.’ Moscow knows quite well that civilized discussions over constitutional clauses cannot take place while the constituents of one party are being terrorized, vaporized, and scattered to the winds by the warplanes and artillery of the other. Will it stop the mass murder? Can it? We shall see.”