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US policymakers in a daze over Syria

Tony Matelli’s near-naked “Sleepwalker” sculpture on the Wellesley College campus is the perfect representation of the Obama administration’s Syrian policy, except in one respect. A sleepwalker will wake up when he hits a stone wall.

Why did Secretary of State John Kerry expect progress toward regime change in the failed Geneva discussions, when the administration has not taken meaningful steps in that direction? US rhetoric has never been coupled with a military response or significant military aid to the opposition, despite the increasing barbarity of Syrian actions, support for President Bashir Assad from Iran and Russia, and assistance from Hezbollah fighters.

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It was a masterstoke for Assad to agree to surrender his chemical munitions. By averting US air strikes, this decision granted Syria a path to a military victory. The intensified aerial bombardment of Aleppo, which followed, went unchallenged.

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had the grace to apologize to the Syrian people for the failure of the Geneva talks. Expressions of regret are too much to expect from the Obama administration, as is a change in policy to address the unrelenting slaughter.

Nathaniel S. Schneider


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