Mr. Kerry still speaks of seeking “a political solution,” though the hope of brokering a deal between the regime and the rebels proved illusory long ago. He says that he aims to “change the calculation on the ground for President Assad,” as if it were still conceivable that this blood-drenched butcher could be induced to quietly step down. And Mr. Kerry is still seeking the cooperation of Russia in ending the war, though Vladimir Putin has made it clear that his first purpose in Syria is preventing a U.S.-engineered regime change.
Such tactics are doomed to failure. They will serve only to prolong and intensify the bloodshed, to the ultimate benefit of al-Qaeda and those, such as Iran’s leaders, who would prefer endless civil war to any change of government. If the Obama administration is to lead on Syria, it must commit itself to steps that can bring about the early collapse of the regime and its replacement by a representative and responsible alternative. (Washington Post editorial, 28 Feb 13)