As Assad creeps ever-closer to the edge, the Obama administration is making contingency plans should the Syrian regime fall. The NY Times lists some of the concerns keeping American policy makers awake at night:
A huge worry, administration officials said, is that in desperation Mr. Assad would use chemical weapons to try to quell the uprising.[…]The Obama administration must also worry about Mr. Assad’s arsenal, including chemical weapons, falling into other hands, including those of Al Qaeda. . . .[…]Beyond trying to stop the Assad government from using unconventional weapons, the United States must also work to make sure that the Alawite minority, ascendant under Mr. Assad and largely loyal to him, is not massacred once its protector is gone.
Add to that the possibility that things will continue on as they have been, with the Assad regime holding on and the conflict intensifying without Assad resorting to unconventional weapons, and you see that there really are few rosy scenarios for the administration to work toward. Lebanon, for example, is a smaller country whose problems are similar to Syria’s (though less intense). But U.S. presidents like Eisenhower and Reagan have never had any success using troops to stabilize it.There are times in foreign policy when none of your choices are pretty, and the best you can do is hope that good luck will keep you from having to do something that you don’t like. So let’s wish Washington’s planners well, and hope for the good luck they (and the suffering people of Syria) need so very much.