The United States should lead an allied cruise missile attack against Syria if evidence of the Syrian government’s culpability is conclusive. The costs of inaction outweigh the significant risks of military intervention. Yet, U.S. policy makers should also expect that a military response likely will extinguish any hope for U.S.-Russian cooperation on Syria-at least in the short term.
A staunch ally of Damascus, Russia has consistently sought to protect Syria from international intervention. In this latest and most serious episode of alleged chemical weapons use, the Russians have suggested Syrian rebels perpetrated the attack as a pretext for military strikes. With a U.S.-led attack appearing increasingly likely, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned against military intervention, deeming a potential attack “catastrophic” and a “serious violation of international law.”
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This originally was published in the New York Times on August 26, 2013
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