Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Syria – Messy

The key question for the President and country’s foreign policy establishment is how to get into and out of Syria, make a contribution, avoid making a mess and hold down the cost. Unfortunately, the administration’s dithering to find this sweet spot created a vacuum that Iran, Russia and the neighboring Shia are happy to fill.

And, American opinion is encouraging the drift. After years of being told by the administration that success is defined as withdrawal, Americans have no appetite for a surge into Syria. Two new opinion polls show a public opposed to a Syrian commitment.

In a series of follow-up questions, Pew probed the public’s sense of obligation in opposing authoritarian regimes and stopping violence. Concern for those positions was slight. Not asked was the basic national security question of “is stopping Syria from becoming a satellite for Iranian and Russian aggression in the Middle East an important goal.”
Pew obviously felt the main motivating factors for American involvement are humanitarian or democratic goals. But, the challenge in Syria is becoming more purely national interest.
Of course, at this point in the life of the Obama presidency, partisanship effects all public perception, making finding a majority for a foreign policy action nearly impossible.

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