Reuters reports that NATO has ruled out intervening in Syria even if the U.N. authorized it:

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western alliance had no intention of intervening in Syria even in the event of a U.N. mandate to protect civilians, and urged Middle East countries to find a way to end the spiraling violence.

It’s worth noting that Rasmussen said something very similar prior to the Libyan war and promptly reversed himself when it became clear that NATO was going to be used to give political cover to the U.S. and Britain, but this is also a stronger statement that NATO will not get involved. It says a lot about how outdated NATO has become when the alliance ostensibly dedicated to the defense of Europe has to rule out attacking a neighboring country racked by civil war. NATO’s reluctance to involve itself in yet another “out-of-area” conflict is understandable and wise.