You know the one thing that all those conversations about Syria were missing? Input from a guy who nearly started WW3. Enter Wesley Clark, a friend of Bill who then tried running for office by giving away Clark Bars.
But first, let’s look at the time Clark nearly started WW3.
“Sir, I’m not going to start World War Three for you.” Again Clark stated what he wanted done. I said to him: “Sir, I’m a three-star general, you can’t give me orders like this. I have my own judgment of the situation and I believe that this order is outside our mandate.”
So now Wesley Clark is full of good advice about what to do in Syria. And yes it mostly draws on the mess in Yugoslavia. The plan is to escalate to get a truce.
The risk of going beyond lethal aid to establishing a no-fly zone to keep Mr. Assad’s planes grounded or safe zones to protect refugees — options under consideration in Washington — is that we would find it hard to pull back if our side began losing. Given the rebels’ major recent setbacks, can we rule out using air power or sending in ground troops?
Yet the sum total of risks — higher oil prices, a widening war — also provide Syria (and its patrons, Iran and Russia) a motive to negotiate. If Mr. Obama can convince Iran that he is serious, and is ready to back up his new promise of aid with additional forces, Iran and Russia will know the risks: Mr. Assad could lose his regime, and most likely his life. Higher oil prices would cost China, which has blocked anti-Syrian initiatives at the United Nations, dearly.
Having just admitted that the United States would be drawn into a ground war if the bluff fails, Wesley Clark urges committing to a bluff because he thinks Iran and Russia will blink first.
They will not. Why would they? Iran has everything to lose if the Brotherhood take over Syria. And Russia is happy to cause problems for others knowing that it will profit in the end.
Clark proposes a limited bombing campaign in the hopes of getting Assad to leave. But he never addresses the fact that there is nowhere to go. This is a religious war. Assad can run away to Iran but all the Alawites can’t go with him. Clark isn’t proposing the partition of Syria which means that no peace process is possible.
The Syrian Civil War is dominated by two sets of Islamists from different sects of Islam whose ideas of governance are incompatible. Diplomacy is a dead end. And escalation in the hopes of making the Russians blink isn’t the great plan that Clark seems to think it is.