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Home/Daniel Larison/The U.S. Plans to Throw More Weapons into Syria

The U.S. Plans to Throw More Weapons into Syria

The U.S. and its regional clients have agreed to make things worse in Syria:

The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said.

The impulse to throw more weapons at the problem isn’t surprising. It is the only answer that these governments ever seem to have to Syria’s conflict, and it is consistently the wrong one. All that this does is ensure that the conflict takes even longer to end while more Syrians on all sides of the conflict suffer and die. As support for these proxies increases, it will also become more difficult for Obama to resist calls to strike at the regime when those proxies come under attack from government and Russian forces. This is a perfect example of the sort of thing I was arguing we shouldn’t do during our conference yesterday. The U.S. continues to have little or nothing at stake in this conflict, and helping to prolong the war doesn’t serve the interests of the U.S. in the least.

This reaction to Russia’s intervention undermines one of the oldest complaints of Syria hawks. They have argued for years that sending many more weapons into Syria earlier would have tipped the balance in favor of the “right” proxies and thus made Syria’s civil war shorter and less destructive. As this shows, as soon as the patrons of one side in the conflict increase their support, the patrons of the other side are very likely to do the same to counter it. If the U.S. had done even more to arm the Syrian opposition early on, Russian and Iranian support for the regime would have also increased. Civil wars like this one are not shortened through increased outside interference, but by the cessation of it. It appears that Syria’s misery will keep going on for a long time before the outside powers understand that.

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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