The only way to secure a positive outcome in Syria is to use US power, under US strategic direction, to do it. This has never necessarily meant military intervention, but it does necessarily mean acting with purpose and determination, rather than throwing random reconnaissance assets into the fray while handing the political problem over lock, stock, and barrel to the Arab League and the UN. Even after the non-intervention intervention in Libya, there is still a level of respect for US power; it would still be possible for America to foster a good outcome in Syria by bringing together the positions of the various parties.
We cannot exclude Turkey, the Arab League, or Russia from Syria, but the US could establish limits on what they can hope to do there. For the sake of the Syrian people and regional stability, one of the two most important things in ousting Assad is preventing an Islamist takeover. (The other is fostering a positive character for the follow-on government of Syria.) Liberalization of the Muslim Middle East faces obstacles under any kind of regime, but radicalization is most likely under Islamism. There are elements in the Arab League (and in the larger OIC as well) that want an Islamist takeover as little as Russia does; there is common ground to be found if the US is willing to take leadership.
We have not been, however. The Obama administration has chosen an ideological course of passivity as regards concrete political outcomes, combined with courtship of third-party Islamist groups. This is an exceptionally bad approach. Nothing this administration does is a conventional use of US power – and that is why Assad is still mowing down his hapless people while his allies deliver fuel and arms to him without let-up or hindrance from NATO or the United States.
Originally published by Hot Air http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/02/18/syria-us-reconnaissance-drones-iranian-warships/