The Syrian Do Nothing Option

One of the principles taught early in most – at least my two – engineering educations was that the “Do Nothing Option” is a legitimate course of action to address any problem. As options are considered, measured, and compared to one another, the results of taking no action should be considered. Of the pics piss-poor options facing the United States regarding the Syrian Civil War, the best option is to do nothing.

Arguably, this was not always the case. Perhaps early in the conflict, when it was primarily a secular and Sunni uprising against Baath party of Bashar Al-Asad, the United States and it’s allies could have come to their aid at a reasonable cost. It’s necessary to keep in mind however, that Syria wasn’t Libya or Mali. It has been a strong central state with a clear military advisory in Israel and long lasting Russian military support. At the time, Turkey wasn’t interested in hosting NATO war planes and Israel – obviously – wasn’t an staging option for attacking Syria. So the President and the EU powers demurred, waiting to see what would happen.

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. Shockingly, appallingly, Oh My G-d don’t touch that worse.

It’s so bad in fact, that most rebel groups the US and EU could align with are also fighting beside Islamist groups fighting to create a religious state of some form.

These are not the rebels you are looking for

Key Syrian Rebel Groups

Relationships and identities are so complicated, identifying who is who isn’t easy even for foreign policy minded US Senators. John McCain visited Syria last week and was photographed with known political kidnappers.  He claims this is untrue, but it is a sad illustration of the complexity of this civil war. There are more than one side in this fight and it is beyond the west’s ability to determine who wins the long struggle for eventual control of the country. And as in the run up to Iraq, few people are even asking if a country with these borders are worth saving. It is better, more moral, to do nothing now and prepare to help clean up the mess afterwards.

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