Finally, a Decision on Syria

It’s about time that the U.S. had a concrete policy towards the war-torn nation.

By + More
 (Charles Dharapak/AP)
The president decision to lethally arm Syrian rebels could come to define his presidency.

President Obama has now committed to supporting the rebels in Syria. The White House's reversal on that front is the right decision. Mostly it is right because it is an actual decision – something that has been lacking in American policy on Syria for the last year.

From here on out, more decisive action will be needed by the United States and the president in order to avoid the results of many a U.S. participation in rebel uprisings around the world. Looking over American history with overseas rebellions and revolutions, it can seem that the last time the U.S. got the results it was looking for was during the French Revolution of 1789.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Syria.]

From the American-backed coup in Chile in 1973 to Nicaragua in the 1980s, and Egypt and Libya in 2011, among others, American experience is peppered with breaking the status quo and then having to buy a regime that is anything but friendly to American interests. 

In Syria, there is no question that President Bashar Assad is a bad actor. 90,000 deaths, according to United Nations numbers, speak volumes to Assad's nature. The biggest issue for the U.S. is not whether to replace Assad but who replaces him, and making sure that whoever it is is not equivalent to President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt or the current government, or lack thereof, in Libya.

[Take the U.S. News Poll: With Chemical Weapons Confirmed, Must Obama Intervene in Syria's Civil War?]

In both of the above examples, the USA and its ally Israel are no better off, and it could easily be argued are worse off, since the regime changes. The same cannot happen in Syria.

The decision on Syria has been made; now it is in the hands of Barack Obama and his team to make sure it bears both the necessary humanitarian results, as well as furthers American safety and stability in the international arena.

  • Read Susan Milligan: Don't Blame Jeff Flake and Joe Heck for Sons' Racist Tweets
  • Read Robert Schlesinger: Jeb Bush, the Republican Party and the Politics of Immigration Reform
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad