However, the combination of the presidential election campaign and the terrorist attacks in Paris is once again increasing the pressure on the United States to escalate its military involvement in the Middle East. Even after a long record of military failure in the region, the rhetoric of “toughness” is still hugely tempting for the leading presidential candidates—including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. But President Obama should not abandon his innate caution by plunging deeper into the Syrian morass. Over the long run, greater caution and deliberation before taking military action need not detract from American credibility. On the contrary, they may help to preserve it.
Gideon Rachman is the chief foreign-affairs columnist at the Financial Times.
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