So the West is once again on the precipice of bombing a country in the Middle East. The likelihood of a strike is about 90%. Obama’s “red line” has been crossed, so the logic behind the mechanics of foreign policy compels a response. I’m fairly certain Obama is regretting using those words. No one in the West has the appetite for a punitive strike of this kind. But credibility trumps most everything else in foreign policy.
Here’s an interesting piece (from 2011) on the follies of regime change (also contains several responses by other scholars):
Of course, in the current situation, no one is proposing engaging in active regime change in Syria. Indeed, as distasteful as Assad has become to the rest of the world…there is no coherent rebel force capable of assuming power. And with portions of the rebel force led by foreign fighters (Al Qaeda), no Western state is anxious to roll the dice and see who wins the post-Assad battle between the foreign fighters and the Syrian rebels. Sigh. It sure is a mess. And if it isn’t a mess now, it will do until the mess arrives.