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Thursday, August 29, 2013
West attacks Syria? What could happen. The Credibility Factor
Lots of talk about credibility at stake for the US and Obama if there is no response to the alleged gas attack near Damascus. But the problem is that there is too much credibility; that the West seeks regime change. It happened in Iraq and in Libya already so you can bet Assad and Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) believe it. So if they think they are going to die today from British and French today or tomorrow from cannibals, the question is what will they do if attacked. That is why there has been a delay in Western action: Uncertainty about their response not about any gas attack (about which no Western leader cares about). Will Syria and Hezbollah go all out, knowing that their regimes are about to be changed? The ideal, theoretical Western attack would be so limited that there would be no real response from the defenders. That would require much communication, trust, and you guessed it, credibility (but a different sort). Here is what is needed: 'Hi Assad, this is Obama. Hi I'm going to bomb you in a very limited way that will not tilt the balance of power to the cannibals, is that cool?' Do you promise it will be limited in that way? Yes. Ok go ahead.' This is the conversation, more or less (perhaps with the Russians as guarantors) that needs to happen for surgical strikes to receive little response. Think it is possible? If not, then it is time to swallow your pride and eat crow about crossing some red line...