The death toll in Syria is reported to be 10,000 according to the United Nations, prompting many people to say ‘we’ve got to do something.’ But any military support or action is complicated, and has the potential to pull outsiders into a larger role in the conflict than they want.
Phyllis Bennis, with the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, argues that what is needed is “serious diplomacy” to keep the violence from exploding beyond Syria’s borders.
The US and its allies are all too aware of the dangers to their own interests of direct military involvement in Syria. A Syrian version of post-Gaddafi Libya means greater instability across the strategic Middle East; expanding regional sectarianism; chaotic borders adjoining Israel, Iraq, and Turkey; extremist Islamism gaining a foothold in Syria; and the derailing of any potential diplomatic arrangement with Iran.
All of that makes it unlikely the Obama administration would risk an attack on Syria without a UN Security Council endorsement.... But ... Washington is in election mode. As the violence escalates in Syria, as more civilians, especially children, are killed, calls for military intervention escalate as well.... Whether [opponents of military force] can stand up to election-year pressures remains unclear.