And thus America goes into Syria.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/obama-approves-military-aid-syrian-rebels-article-1.1372540

It will be done as cheaply as possible; the last phase might involve a no fly zone.

Make no mistake, however – America could give a shit about a democratic or free Syria.  That would be lovely, of course, because such a country would likely align with the U.S.  But it’s not necessary.

Humanitarian considerations aside, America really has only three fundamental interests in the Syrian civil war.  They are:

Deny Russia a base in the Middle East

Russia is still a big power and, at the end of the day, is a competitor with the United States for global influence, democracy or not.  Syria is the last remnant of the Soviet Union’s once extensive client state network in the Arab world.  Its loss means Russia will have no client states left in the region.

Corral Iranian power back to Iran

Iran had a pretty good decade, extending its influence and power into Iraq and Lebanon and strengthening its ties with Syria.  The U.S. must check this growth.  The destruction of Syria’s government is a big step towards doing so.

Dominate the Middle East

America didn’t win the war in Iraq cleanly.  But it did the next best thing – weaken it to the point of irrelevance.  Even if Saddam returned from the grave and took over again, Iraq would still be so weak that he’d barely be able to keep his palace lights on, let alone challenge the U.S.  Syria will be the same.  The first goal will be the destruction of Syria’s ruling government; the second goal will be preventing anyone hostile to the United States from consolidating power.  Those two goals can be achieved through wanton destruction.  Nation-building does not factor in.  Again, it’d be lovely if Syrians managed a democracy out of all this, with a nice constitution and the like – but overall, unnecessary.

So it begins.  Don’t expect big headlines.  The fact that this war is highly unpopular means it will be quiet.  But the rules of geopolitics draw America in regardless.

Advertisements