Saving Syria at the 11th Hour

In lieu of a clear commitment to stopping the violence, the Obama administration has settled for limited intervention without a clear strategy. Can the United States still make a difference?


In the latest episode of The E.R., David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, and Kori Schake discuss the reasons behind U.S. inaction in Syria. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. government has gotten better at thinking before it acts — but does it still not understand how to weigh the costs of not acting at all? Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest diplomatic efforts to forge a cease-fire have been floundering. But, the panel asks, without a clear regional strategy or robust military commitment on the part of the United States, did the talks ever have a chance to succeed? And between the military and the Obama administration, who’s more to blame for the sorry state of affairs?

Washington didn’t stop atrocities in Rwanda or Bosnia, and has remained aloof again in Syria, where matters even more vital to U.S. interests are at stake. The panel looks at how the United States could begin to take on a leadership role in Syria, without doing more harm than good. And finally, we get a glimpse of what a Rothkopf administration might look like.

Rosa Brooks is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and teaches international law, national security, and constitutional law at Georgetown University. Follow her on Twitter: @brooks_rosa.

Kori Schake is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she focuses on military history, and a former foreign-policy advisor to Sen. John McCain. Follow her on Twitter: @KoriSchake.

David Rothkopf is the CEO and editor of the FP Group. Follow him on Twitter: @djrothkopf.

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