Be Very Careful Before Beating The War Drums In Syria [Watch]

David French, National Review

Russia’s involvement in the conflict raises the stakes of any U.S. action.

War has consequences. Callous incompetence has consequences. The world is watching those consequences unfold in Syria today. No one can look at images of children dead from gas attacks and not be moved.

Let’s stipulate two things: First, there were never any easy American choices in Syria. Second, the Obama administration got virtually every hard choice wrong. Or, to be more precise, the choices it did make did nothing to either stop the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the new century or block our enemies and rivals, Iran and Russia, from exerting their will in Syria.

The result is the Syria we have today, a patchwork quilt of competing zones of control that in some ways looks more complicated than it is. Let’s make sense of the map below:

The red, government-controlled areas represent the most populated and economically consequential sections of the country. This is where Russia and Iran have asserted their will, and this is where Assad is spilling the blood of innocents to expand and maintain his grip on power. Yes, he’s still opposed by rebel groups, but they’ve been decimated, and many of the groups that remain are dominated by jihadists.

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