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Global Insights: The Challenges of Military Action Against Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013

The impending U.S. military strike against Syria due to the Syrian army’s massive use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians underscores the difficulties involved in using military force in such situations. It would be far better and less costly to strengthen the Chemical Weapons Convention and other nonproliferation tools than to apply military power to eliminate rogue states’ existing chemical weapons (CW) materials or try to limit their use.

Obama administration officials have cited various reasons for launching a limited attack: to punish the Syrian government for its past CW use; to deter further use; and, in case deterrence fails, to degrade the Syrian regime’s ability to launch another attack. ...

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