Our Syria policy has been incoherent
The United States recently dropped its support for the “Annan plan” — due to the fact that there is no more Annan plan, special U.N. Syrian envoy Kofi Annan recently having resigned. As most understood the plan, the Obama administration was supposed to be pressing for international sanctions and organizing a common front against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as Annan forced Assad to negotiate away his power with various rebel groups.
Annan’s Westernized Third World credentials also supposedly made him uniquely suited for soothing Russia and China’s fears over the loss of their friend Assad. Annan’s shuttling between the Syrian government and the rebels would usher in a peaceful transition to consensual government. Such a grand bargain would then be overseen by the United Nations and result in a pluralistic Syrian society, albeit with some sort of face-saving retirement for the deposed tyrant.