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History of US planning on Syria :

And, overthrowing Saddam Hussein in ...[ AmericanWarOnIraq]..., in other words, was merely a stepping stone to ‘getting’ Syria. As Pat Buchanan put it: “In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel’s enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad”.

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Quora Answer : Has the US effectively lost leverage in Syria in October 2016?

Oct 13, 2016

As User-13004098160284750300 says, it never had any leverage in the first place. Unlike Iraq etc. Syria was ALWAYS in Russia's sphere of interest and under its protection.

The US and Europe were no more likely to march in and depose Assad against Russia's wishes than China is going to invade, say, South Korea against American wishes.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

The problem is, it's taken far too long for the American / European public, media and perhaps even politicians to recognize this good old-fashioned realpolitik fact.

The right-wing media / politicians think its tantamount to treason to even think (let alone admit in public) that there might be limits to what the military can achieve. And the new left that grew up around Clinton and Blair (including Obama) were too seduced by the post-Cold War / 90s belief that formed during the break-up of Yugoslavia, that Western military force could be used for good.

That theory started being tested from the moment the Western powers invaded Afghanistan. (A quagmire in which they've been trapped for 15 years and still don't have a plausible escape from). Iraq demonstrated how limited the West really is to effect the changes it wants in other countries. Further failure in Libya confirms the hypothesis.

And these failures were all places where the Russians weren't actively trying to sabotage us.

So we're stuck between a residual but flawed idealism that believes we can (and therefore should) intervene in places where horrible things are going on, to magically save the people from the atrocities that are happening to them. And the hard limits (in terms of money, military morale, public support) that prevent us.

But this learning is happening far too slowly. You can still find well-meaning commentators in the media, wringing their hands about why won't we save the poor people of Aleppo. We still have blustering politicians promising that they have the will to use the military to solve all our problems. (We also have the extraordinary sight, today, of Boris Johnson ... dimly grasping how powerless he actually is, but unable to fully admit it ... calling for people to go and protest outside the Russian embassy in London.)

But there was never any way that the West was going to get rid of Assad. And we should never have risked our credibility by implying or threatening that we would. We should never have even hinted that we could help anti-Assad rebels in Syria and given them false hope.

Unfortunately, it's now too late. And we are revealed as incapable of delivering on the promises we implied. That's a very uncomfortable position to be in. And one that puts a huge moral responsibility on us. There is one thing that the West can practically do to help the Syrians. And that's let anyone who is fleeing the country come and live with us, under our protection.

That really is the best we can do at this point.

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