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Archive for September, 2015

It’s time to switch sides, to utilize Assad and his government as a means to defeat the Islamic State, and to cooperate with Russia to do it.  How do you do that without being seen to renounce the prior policy?

John Kerry formulated it this way – Assad’s removal “doesn’t have to be on day one or month one or whatever”.  “[W]e’re not being doctrinaire about the specific date or time,” Kerry said.

This is rhetorical prelude to what’s become increasingly obvious – defeating ISIS without Assad may be impractical or impossible.  Moreover, it may be undesirable to destroy Assad’s government, even if it were possible.

We’ve learned the hard way the chaos that resulted from destroying the Iraqi army, the Iraqi government, and the general de-Bathification.  In hindsight, that’s how we won the war and lost the peace.  We should not repeat that mistake in Syria.  We dare not destroy the institutions of government that hold a country together and make social order possible.

We should switch sides, work with the Russians, accept that we many need to retain Assad, for now, and ultimately seek to re-make the Assad government at a later stage.  Kerry’s new formulation may be the first step along that road.

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