The Great Debate

What is next for Syria’s opposition?

By Daniel Serwer
September 18, 2013

The Syrian regime is crowing victory. The Russians are satisfied at preventing an American military intervention. President Obama is glad to have avoided a Congressional vote against it. Israel is pleased to see Syria’s chemical weapons capability zeroed out, provided the framework agreement reached last week is fully implemented. Even Iran is backing it, while continuing to deny that the regime was responsible for using chemical weapons.

A potential turning point for Syria

By Mona Yacoubian
September 11, 2013

In the dizzying debate over U.S. military intervention in Syria, one key point of consensus stands out: Both the Obama administration and Congress recognize that the resolution to Syria’s conflict must come through a negotiated settlement. Key international actors share the same conclusion.

Is this why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?

By L. Douglas Wilder
September 11, 2013

In December 2009 the world was treated to the unexpected news that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Among those most surprised was Obama himself. Not many sitting American presidents have won the award. In fact, Obama was only the third.

Making frenemies with Putin

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
September 10, 2013

Anyone who ever worried that Barack Obama might not be Made in the USA should take comfort from his quintessentially American response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to give temporary asylum to Edward Snowden: pouting.

Is the intelligence on Syria different this time?

By David Wise
September 9, 2013

The long shadow of the faulty, hyped intelligence in the run-up to the war in Iraq has posed a huge barrier to President Barack Obama’s efforts to win public and congressional support for a limited missile strike against Syria.

from David Rohde:

For Obama, a contradiction too many

By David Rohde
September 6, 2013

President Barack Obama will have to deliver one of the finest speeches of his presidency next Tuesday if he hopes to win Congressional support for a strike against Syria. Out of nowhere, the Syria vote has emerged as one of the defining moments of Obama’s second term.

The politics of Syria

By Bill Schneider
September 4, 2013

Congressional Democrats are in a bind. If they vote to authorize a military strike on Syria, they could be putting the country on a slippery slope to war. But if they vote no, they will deliver a crushing defeat to their president.

Obama’s flawed case for a Syria strike

By Ari Melber
September 3, 2013

We should not bomb Syria without a vital national security interest and a precise foreign policy objective.

Syria: What happened to diplomacy?

By Trita Parsi
September 3, 2013

There is a bizarre quality to the U.S. public debate about bombing Syria. Much time and effort has been spent analyzing President Barack Obama’s decision to finally call for a vote in Congress: whether this was a wise choice; what the repercussions of an attack may be; the (il)legality of acting without a United Nations Security Council mandate; the moral case for bombing, and the strategic case for restraint.

from David Rohde:

Has Iraq shackled American power?

By David Rohde
August 29, 2013

In an extraordinary series of disclosures this week, Obama administration officials said that the United States will launch only cruise missile strikes in Syria. The attacks will last roughly two or three days. And the administration’s goal will be to punish President Bashar al-Assad, not remove him from power.