The most amusing part of The Washington Post‘s editorial on NATO and Syria has to be the title: “NATO’s inexplicable reluctance to aid Syria.” This isn’t inexplicable. Nothing could be easier to explain than this “reluctance.” NATO is supposedly a defensive alliance that has been exhausted by its “out-of-area” wars over the last several years. That includes the war in Libya last year that exposed the limitations of non-U.S. NATO members and the alliance’s ongoing over-reliance on U.S. forces. Syria may border on a NATO country, but the government of that country still seems uninterested in becoming directly involved in Syria’s conflict, and no other NATO members have any interest in greater involvement. It would make more sense to refer to interventionists’ inexplicable eagerness to interfere in Syria.
There is no political will for NATO involvement in Syria, the military resources of non-U.S. members have already been stretched by the Libyan war, and the aftermath of the Libyan war ought to make interventionists everywhere more cautious. The Libya “victory” may ring hollow, but it isn’t because it didn’t serve as a springboard for another war. NATO has no business taking sides in another country’s civil war anyway, and the alliance isn’t looking for a new war. NATO’s refusal so far to listen to interventionist arguments on Syria is one of the small pieces of good news coming from the summit.