February 20, 2014
Americans unquestionably oppose any U.S. military intervention in Syria of the “boots on the ground” variety. They’re not fans of the idea of air strikes there, either. But how would they respond to narrowly tailored attacks targeting Islamist fighters who may be looking to use that country’s lawless war zones as a staging ground for potential attacks on U.S. allies, U.S. interests and possibly the United States itself? Would such a limited approach really help increasingly desperate moderate fighters squeezed between those extremists and strongman Bashar Assad’s troops? And what risk would it pose in terms of sucking the United States into an escalating role in the Syrian conflict?
Those are central, pressing questions as President Barack Obama assesses his handling of arguably the worst foreign policy disaster of his administration and gives fresh thought to a limited military role, according to current and former administration officials and congressional aides.
“Right now we don’t think that there is a military solution, per se, to the problem,” Obama said last week at a joint press conference with his closest ally on the issue, French President Francois Hollande. “But the situation is fluid, and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue to solve this problem.”