The debate among U.S. foreign policy analysts over the wisdom of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities -- and whether or not America should allow itself to be drawn into an ensuing conflict with Iran should Israel strike -- has largely taken place parallel to the debate over whether to pursue an R2P, or responsibility to protect, intervention in Syria. It bears noting, however, that forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure may be the best near-term policy for the U.S. to avoid being sucked into an Israeli-Iranian war.
Clearly the Assad ruling clan deserves our best efforts short of an all-out invasion to bring about its forcible removal. Now that Assad is perpetrating the same mass violence against innocent civilians on a town-by-town basis to which his father, Hafez, once resorted, there should be no pretense of suggesting that this is none of the world’s moral business.
That argument can’t be applied universally, of course. If the Assad regime was powerful enough, the West would naturally have to let it get away with its vicious assault against its own people. But it is not, which means we now possess both the motive and opportunity to do the right thing.