Blogs: The Skeptics

China Won't Help America Subdue North Korea

The U.S. Again Learns That Intervention Isn’t Cost-Free

Trump's Syria Tactic Could Bring Warring Parties to the Table

The Skeptics

In addition to the four de-escalation zones that Iran, Turkey and Russia are still working to codify, the fighting freeze in southwest Syria is the latest stage of a larger trend in how the big powers are dealing with the Syria problem today. Resolving the civil war has been illusory for the past six and a half years, with the Assad regime refusing to talk about reforming, the opposition refusing to budge from its demand that Assad leave office, and the multiple players in the war making a consensus solution that much harder to reach. It now appears to be the Trump administration’s policy to manage the Syrian conflict rather than to resolve it, relying on region-wide truces and hoping that the warring sides will be more interested in the diplomatic track once the battlefield starts to quiet down.

A lot of foreign-policy experts won’t like this change in approach, because it still leaves open the question about Assad’s political future. It would be difficult to find anyone on Capitol Hill who believes that Assad should stay in power for the foreseeable future—let alone for the next five years—given how many civilians he has killed, how many cities he has leveled and how many prohibited weapons he has used. Unfortunately, unless—and until—everybody’s interests in Syria are aligned, the best thing that the United States can do is work with Moscow to freeze the fighting in place.

It’s not an ideal solution. Indeed, it’s not a solution at all. But in managing the violence, the Trump administration will at least be saving lives without getting the United States more deeply enmeshed in a Middle Eastern proxy war.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Image: Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand outside a house in Raqqa, Syria June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Pages

When Trump Met Putin: Is Reconciliation in the Air?

The Skeptics

In addition to the four de-escalation zones that Iran, Turkey and Russia are still working to codify, the fighting freeze in southwest Syria is the latest stage of a larger trend in how the big powers are dealing with the Syria problem today. Resolving the civil war has been illusory for the past six and a half years, with the Assad regime refusing to talk about reforming, the opposition refusing to budge from its demand that Assad leave office, and the multiple players in the war making a consensus solution that much harder to reach. It now appears to be the Trump administration’s policy to manage the Syrian conflict rather than to resolve it, relying on region-wide truces and hoping that the warring sides will be more interested in the diplomatic track once the battlefield starts to quiet down.

A lot of foreign-policy experts won’t like this change in approach, because it still leaves open the question about Assad’s political future. It would be difficult to find anyone on Capitol Hill who believes that Assad should stay in power for the foreseeable future—let alone for the next five years—given how many civilians he has killed, how many cities he has leveled and how many prohibited weapons he has used. Unfortunately, unless—and until—everybody’s interests in Syria are aligned, the best thing that the United States can do is work with Moscow to freeze the fighting in place.

It’s not an ideal solution. Indeed, it’s not a solution at all. But in managing the violence, the Trump administration will at least be saving lives without getting the United States more deeply enmeshed in a Middle Eastern proxy war.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Image: Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand outside a house in Raqqa, Syria June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Pages

Lawmakers Are Ready to Rip the Defense Budget Apart

The Skeptics

In addition to the four de-escalation zones that Iran, Turkey and Russia are still working to codify, the fighting freeze in southwest Syria is the latest stage of a larger trend in how the big powers are dealing with the Syria problem today. Resolving the civil war has been illusory for the past six and a half years, with the Assad regime refusing to talk about reforming, the opposition refusing to budge from its demand that Assad leave office, and the multiple players in the war making a consensus solution that much harder to reach. It now appears to be the Trump administration’s policy to manage the Syrian conflict rather than to resolve it, relying on region-wide truces and hoping that the warring sides will be more interested in the diplomatic track once the battlefield starts to quiet down.

A lot of foreign-policy experts won’t like this change in approach, because it still leaves open the question about Assad’s political future. It would be difficult to find anyone on Capitol Hill who believes that Assad should stay in power for the foreseeable future—let alone for the next five years—given how many civilians he has killed, how many cities he has leveled and how many prohibited weapons he has used. Unfortunately, unless—and until—everybody’s interests in Syria are aligned, the best thing that the United States can do is work with Moscow to freeze the fighting in place.

It’s not an ideal solution. Indeed, it’s not a solution at all. But in managing the violence, the Trump administration will at least be saving lives without getting the United States more deeply enmeshed in a Middle Eastern proxy war.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Image: Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand outside a house in Raqqa, Syria June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Pages

Pages