US Policy-Makers Abandon Syrian “Engagement”

syrian military
Syrian security forces occupy the central city of Homs.

[credit provider=”Courtesy of the BBC”]

The dirty little secret about Syria is that no one really wants the Assad regime turned out.  The Europeans prefer the status quo, the Americans prefer the status quo, the Israelis prefer the status quo, the Turks prefer the status quo.  The list goes on.The reason is simple: everyone fears that if the Assad regime collapses, the country will descend into chaos, which in turn will send the region into chaos, which is something that no one wants.

So the unofficial policy of the NATO nations and the Americans and the Turks and the Israelis has been to be “deeply concerned” about Syrian President Assad’s vicious crackdown on anti-regime protesters.  Very “deeply concerned” if necessary.

That posture has now run its course. The slaughter of peaceful protesters makes it untenable. 

So begins step two of the unofficial policy, which is to decry the horror and study what to do next.  The real purpose of this second step is to allow President Assad enough time to obliterate the remaining opposition and reassert absolute control over his country. All while pretending that the policy of “engagement” with Syria is now being re-tooled.

“We can’t [continue to engage] right now,” (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) said yesterday, in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine. “This is an egregious situation. There are a lot of human rights abuses and we have to respond appropriately.”

We don’t mean to pick on Sen. Kerry here.  He’s just doing his job.  And the expectation is that President Assad will crush the Syrian uprising, at whatever cost.  Step two of the unofficial policy (“engagement is over, we’re working on a new policy now”) gives him about a month or two to get the job done.