go to top
A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover after a tank blast in Aleppo, Syria. A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a rocket-propelled grenade launcher while taking cover after a tank blast in Aleppo, Syria, Sept. 26, 2012 (AP photo by Manu Brabo.)

The Realist Case for Intervening in Ukraine Is Stronger Than It Was in Syria

Friday, March 25, 2022

For the community of analysts that have focused on Syria’s civil war over the past decade, the images of bombed out Ukrainian cities, civilian casualties and refugees flooding across the border over the past month are bitterly familiar. As a policy problem, too, the war in Ukraine invites obvious comparisons to the Syrian conflict. Both raise questions about the costs and benefits of U.S. intervention. Both, of course, involve Russia. And in both cases, “realism” has somehow become synonymous with non-interventionism in the U.S. policy discourse. 

In fact, those that make a career out of non-interventionism while casting themselves as enlightened guardians of realism are misusing the term. So too, however, are interventionists who have turned realism into a pejorative. Realism is fully compatible with aggressive U.S. military intervention, but as the cases of Ukraine and Syria demonstrate, the realist argument for intervention is clearer in some cases—and places—than others.    ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.