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The Appetite for Intervention

John Norris does a mostly good job reviewing the Syria debate, but gets something wrong at the end:

So what is the world learning from Syria? That Obama is not Bush, and that the American people are tired of fighting new wars. That no one, other than John McCain, has any appetite for getting involved in Syria [bold mine-DL].

Would that the last part were true. As much as I would like to say that no one wants the U.S. involved in Syria’s conflict except for a knee-jerk hard-liner such as McCain, there is a disturbingly large number of prominent people agitating for the same thing, and they can be found in both parties. There are all of the predictable figures and media outlets demanding intervention (e.g., the WSJ, the Post, etc.), and they have been doing that for two years, but their persistent warmongering has taken the insane idea of a Syrian war from the edges of the debate and made it much more of a real possibility than it ever should have been. Syria interventionists have been steadily gaining new allies over the last few months. Administration policy seems to be inexorably drifting towards more involvement despite their evident reluctance.

The public doesn’t support involvement in Syria’s conflict, and theyneverhave, but as on so many other issues what the public favors has remarkably little effect on the policy debate. There is arguably less public support for intervention in Syria today than there was a year ago, but intervention has gained far more supporters in Washington over that same period. Whatever the world may be learning, Americans are being reminded that their preferences are a hindrance and an annoyance to a large number of people in Washington dedicated to dragging the U.S. into one conflict after another.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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