Editor’s note: Kenneth Pollack critiques what he sees as an incoherent strategy from the Obama administration on Syria. Outlining the arguments in favor of and against U.S. intervention in Syria, Pollack writes that the White House’s policy has been indecisive due to a desire to avoid committing the United States to a serious military intervention while still enforcing red lines.
The complexities of the Syria conflict touch on American interests in myriad ways—ways that don’t necessarily line up neatly with one course of action or another. There are multiple goals, and multiple strategies that could be employed to achieve those goals, and as a result, there are good arguments to be made both for intervention and against. The only thing that makes no sense, unfortunately, is the path that President Obama appears determined to pursue.
Initially, it seemed Turkey was seeking a bargain with or financial support from Saudi Arabia. But it increasingly appears that Turkey is seeking to inflict maximum damage on [Mohammad bin Salman].