US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan, where US policy has been mostly military. Washington continues to view Afghanistan through the lens of war when it most needs peace – a negotiated settlement with insurgents and neighboring states like India and Pakistan.
Putting UN monitors on the ground in Syria as part of Kofi Annan’s wider peace plan is a constructive step forward. But for now, Bashar al-Assad continues to set most of the terms. With more creative international action he will not be able to do so in the medium to long term.