So, now we're going to give more arms and support to Syria's "rebel" forces. Somebody tell me just why this is a bright idea. For one, this pretty much proves that whatever they're teaching in history class at a certain Ivy League school, they're leaving out the history of Al Qaeda bit. You know, the part where "rebels" are given arms and support to overthrow an enemy, and then they later turn around and bite us in the ass.
I'm going to attribute this decision to a few different possible factors.
1. We're going to fight a proxy war with Iran; we could care less about Syria, but what we want is to be able to engage Hezbollah inside of Syria. Iran can't or won't do anything serious itself, so it relies on its Hezbollah proxy to fight for it, far enough away that it thinks we won't notice what's really going on. Well, we see you, Iran, you and your photoshop missiles and hilarious "aircraft" designs. We can't or won't do anything about Iran (and this is completely independent of the should we or shouldn't we argument so don't even start), so this will work instead. Except that support and assistance has a way of turning into a massive debacle and sucking us in way too deep into something largely irrelevant, but I guess the plus side here is that Syria isn't covered in jungle? Although why Hezbollah matters is another question, given that I haven't heard of them launching rockets across the Mexican border yet.
2. It's Egypt all over again. And no, not Egypt of a few years ago, Egypt of a few decades ago. As in we're only picking this side because the "bad guys" (i.e. Russia and in Syria's case also China) are on the opposite side of the fence. Which turned out to be such a stellar political decision back then.
3. We waited too long to do anything militarily productive. I've been saying for a while now that relying on Soviet-era IADS components gets you bombed, apparently if you don't follow our rules. See Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Libya. Syria, with modern Chinese radars and modern Russian SAMs (even though Russia currently lacks the stones to just airlift S-300PMU-2 components using An-124s...at least I think they'd fit given that it could airlift Pioner), has moved away from the bombable model of air defense, which has given us pause. Notice how a lot of the NFZ stuff disappeared with a quickness when all of the fun new toys started to be either delivered or reported in service, or it became obvious that Russia might eventually send the S-300PMU-2s that Syria ordered. Which incidentially would mean the inclusion of Russian advisors and trainers, who might get bombed, and we don't want that...but aren't you supposed to want to bomb the "bad guys"? Now I'm confused.
In reality, everyone should step back and let the situation play itself out. Because I can't for the life of me see where this results in a "win" if we start trying to play nationbuilder again. I understand that there is a certain need to play geopolitics and make it look like we're standing up to the "bad guys", but in reality none of us should be involved. Why not engage Russia and China and get everyone to take a step back, because relations with those two are far more valuable and important in the long run than whatever happens to Syria. If you want to look good to the international players, at least make yourself look good to the ones that actually matter.
Oh wait, I forgot...if they aren't the "bad guys", how can we justify billions of dollars for overpriced and unnecessary hardware like the F-35...
And before the inevitable question comes up, no, I am not necessarily against bombing things or sticking our nose into someone else's business when there's a definite endgame that will be to our benefit. We have just as much right to act in our own national interest as anyone else does, despite what the rest of the world wants you to think. But once again, someone really needs to explain to me how this one is in our national interest, because I'm just not seeing it.
...but there's also...
Nope. Not going there.