I don’t know if Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut is generally regarded as a rising Democratic star on foreign policy issues, but he should be. His op-ed on Syria in today’s NY Times makes eminent good sense, as he usually does. His basic message: there was/is nothing that the US could do to significantly mitigate the horrors in Syria, and what we did do just made matters worse. Sometimes, we just have to recognize that there are limits to American power and exercise the appropriate restraint, however reluctant we may be to do so.

This is one of those cases where I can’t avoid the temptation to toot my own horn, since Murphy is saying basically what I said over a year ago when I asked

…what if there is no solution? What if there is simply nothing constructive for the US to do? What if Syria is just another Middle Eastern quagmire to avoid? That horrible, tragic conclusion may just be correct….”

One comment

  1. Jeffrey Herrmann January 3, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Ought implies can.
    When there is nothing you can do that would on balance make things better, you ought do nothing – you ought not intervene.
    Many people think surely there is something the US can do to make things better, but in the case of Syria, as you and Murphy have argued, that is delusional.

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