Syria Postmortem

by Victor Davis Hanson

I think the so-called Syrian crisis is working out as most anticipated:

1) In about a year or so Assad and Putin will announce that they “think” they might have in theory rounded up a lot of the WMD, and will soon make plans to turn it over to “authorities,” subject to further negotiations.

2) John Kerry will periodically announce that “his” plan has worked and that Assad still cannot kill with WMD any of those he kills by other means, as Obama adds that Putin still “owns” the crisis and that the U.S. keeps all options on the table.

3) Assad will stay in power, given his own ability to use Russian weapons to stalemate the insurgents, who increasingly become even more unsympathetic and up the profile of Islamist groups in their midst. We may see 200,000 total casualties, to the extent they are reported, by this time next year.

4) Europe and the U.N. will decide that they really don’t much care what Assad or his enemies do.

5) Most in the region will still argue over who is the new outside arbiter, a militarily and economically stagnant Russia under a canny and audacious authoritarian, or a once overwhelmingly strong U.S. led by Hamlet.

6) Iran will follow the Assad model—welcoming Russian support, and, like Assad, swearing off any intention to ever use WMD, as it requests new rounds of negotiations, and its leaders give TV interviews to showcase their new moderate and engaged attitude.

7) Obama will reference “Bush” and “Iraq” if ever asked about what’s up in Syria.

8) The American public will have a vague idea that about a year earlier something happened sometime to someone in Syria, but what and when and where and why they are not quite sure.

9) A periodic op-ed in the New York Times will deplore the ongoing violence in Syria.

10) Ignore the above if Assad is stupid enough to use WMD yet one more time just to embarrass further the U.S.; the pressure on Obama would be such that he really would have to order an unbelievably small shot across the Syrian bow.