The Syria Solution: Obama Got Played by Putin and Assad
September 10, 2013

This, apparently, is how diplomacy happens these days: Someone makes an off-hand remark at a press conference and triggers an international chain reaction that turns an already chaotic and complex situation completely on its head, and gives everyone

Barney Frank Is Tired of Hearing "Obama This, Obama That"
September 10, 2013

As the first of what will be semi-regular chats with former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, I called him up on Monday to hear his opinions on Syria, Obama’s second-term agenda, and Larry Summers vs. Janet Yellen at the Fed.Isaac Chotiner: Do you think that Obama’s going to get this vote on Syria through Congress?Barney Frank: Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a possible way. There are people who would have a much better idea of that than I would.IC: Do you talk to any old friends in the House about what they’re thinking?BF: I’ve talked to exactly three members.

Britain's New Isolationism
September 09, 2013

Britain’s retreat from military intervention in Syria has no proud author. The parliamentary vote that apparently settled the matter was a humiliation for the Prime Minister but also a shock to those who humiliated him.

Congress is About to Blow a Negotiated Settlement in Syria
September 09, 2013

A vote by Congress to reject the resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize military force in Syria will add to the long list of unintended consequences already produced by bad policy choices on Syria.

Bashar al Assad's Surreal Apologia to Charlie Rose
September 09, 2013

The room in Damascus is clean, neat, symmetrical. The table has almost the exact circumference as a circle that it stands on in the regionally inflected rug.

Peace Feelers from Russia and Iran?
September 09, 2013

One underlying goal of American threats to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons has been to move the parties in Syria toward a negotiated settlement.

Think Bashar al Assad Is Brutal? Meet His Family
September 08, 2013

In the late 1980s Patrick Seale wrote an excellent account of the al-Assad family—well before it was clear that Bashar, its bookish, quiet, second-oldest son, would one day lead the Syrian government in massacring its own people.

Here Is What a U.S. Attack on Syria Would Look Like
September 08, 2013

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack on his own people last month provoked President Barack Obama's use-of-force resolution in Congress, but if the United States should strike Syria, its goal probably will not be to blow up

John Kerry Says Syria's Moderate Rebels Are Rising. Here Is Why You Should Be Skeptical.
September 08, 2013

When pressed during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the goal of an American military strike against Bashar al Assad’s Syrian government would not merely be to punish him for his use of chem

No, Washington, Syria is Actually Not All About You
September 06, 2013

In today’s paper, The Washington Post writes that President Obama has “staked the credibility of the United States—and his presidency—on his call for a military operation.” In the Wall Street Journal, Bill Galston warned more darkly of the consequenc