August 23, 2011 | Quote

Obama Finally Tells Assad to Go

So why did Obama finally leap into action? Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tells me, “Very little has happened in recent days that wasn’t happening five months ago. The Assad has been consistently brutal. It has just wielded different tools of oppression. The administration simply held off making this announcement until the death toll mounted to unbearable levels. How the current numbers (by some estimations 2000 dead and another 3000 missing) became the threshold is still unclear.”

Thousands of lives have been lost and valuable time when the U.S. could have been applying pressure to the regime. Schanzer surmises, “As for next moves, it appears that, after three decades, we’re finally slapping Syria with sanctions that bite. While this will encumber Syria’s ability to secure the resources needed to suppress its population, there is very little else the Administration appears prepared to do. The White House has explicitly stated that the use of force is off the table. And while the idea of a new war is absolutely unpalatable, we’ve now relinquished our last real bit of leverage.” Maybe the administration can begin to deploy some of the strategies that others have recommended.