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Le Nouvel Observateur, France

Syria: The Cynicism of Americans

By Sara Daniel

Translated By Samantha Nzessi

12 September 2013

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)

Barack Obama can breathe. Bashar al-Assad accepted Russia’s plan for the destruction of his chemical arsenal. The American president is not a dupe; he knows that this operation will be long and hazardous, and that it poses insurmountable material problems: How to transport and destroy hundreds of tons of toxic agents in a country that is in the middle of a civil war? But at the very least, this plan buys him some time. He was ready to write off a probable failure if the House of Representatives had to announce its decision. How to explain the American president’s visible relief, even though he admitted that regulation regarding Syrian chemical weapons would not solve the civil war in Syria?

There is of course American public opinion, which, contrary to ours in Europe, is extremely averse to the intervention because it has been burned by the Iraq War and, to make a long story short, because it would prefer a dictator to fundamentalists, forgetting that the two are now co-habitating in Syria. But American decision-makers have this commonly accepted idea that the status quo in Syria is the best option for the United States. It was researcher Edward N. Luttwak, a famous geopolitical scientist, who defended this incredibly cynical point of view in the pages of Le Monde, only a few days ago. According to him, Bashar’s victory would be just as much of a disaster for the U.S. as that of the rebels. He therefore defended the idea of an indefinite draw, without even mentioning the human cost of this decision. They must, he said, “arm the rebels when it seems that Mr. Assad’s forces are ascendant and … stop supplying the rebels if they actually seem to be winning.” A strategy which, according to Luttwak, is close to the one adopted by Obama …



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