I’m a broken record on the topic of the war in Syria, and especially its Russian component. But this issue waxes and wanes from the public discussion. We seem prepared to hurl service members into a war we haven’t yet adequately analyzed. What would be the real gain by committing to this war? This doesn’t feel like the right time to plunge ourselves into a new one given how we’re already involved in another war. We’re in a transition period.

There will no doubt be an effort by influential members of the Syrian diaspora who are now Americans to advocate for a no-fly zone. Why shouldn’t they? Their people are being slaughtered, and who would not sympathize with that? However, just as not all veterans are foreign policy experts, all diaspora Syrians aren’t objective observers, nor do they necessarily have the U.S.’s best interests at heart. Europe is suffering due to our sanctions on Russia, limiting the resources Russia provides as exports. For our part, U.S. policy with Syria hasn’t made sense.

We need to make a decision: war or not. A no-fly zone isn’t going to work, and would just provoke a confrontation with regime-sided forces in Syria. No doubt foreign policy wonks masquerading as experts will claim a UN solution can effectively provide a ‘no-fly zone.’

However, this would require removing the ADAs of both Russia and Syria, which would require a diplomatic miracle or serious military action. Then, the ‘no-fly zone’ would have to be maintained. By the UN? Not likely. Then, there’s the wild card: MANPADs floating around the region that could further complicate the situation. In a UN no-fly zone, will there be adequate CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue)?

Is the humanitarian crisis enough to pull us into Syria militarily? As an American, are you willing to join the effort? Is the price of democracy not, for lack of a better term, to pay attention to these things?

The Russian factor

There was a nationwide emergency preparedness drill in Russia, according to some reports. The Russians believe the West might attack their land. Russia needs the warm-water port that Syria provides. It’s critical for them. This gives Assad serious leverage when dealing with Russia. We need a diplomatic and political solution. Anything else will lead us toward a bewildering, complicated conflict.

The situations in Ukraine and Syria are both seen as examples of Western aggression to Russian eyes. They think we’ve gone off the rails. To be clear, America isn’t a rogue nation. NATO and our partner nations matter. They lobby and push for what they want, too. I mean, we aren’t acting alone. Our actions represent a consensus of the West, more or less. That’s the beauty, and the downfall, of NATO. We’re tied to one another. For example, Lithuania views Russia as the greatest menace on the planet and would support any effort to undermine them. Lithuania is beyond happy we’ve increased our presence in the Baltic States. In fact, they wish we did more training, planning, and work to subvert Russia. But to the Russians, this maneuver could precipitate a world war.

Does anyone think the average Russian wants a world war? The last one was devastating. On a macro scale, this should make you want to s%^& your pants. The rhetoric and military maneuvers have escalated to a point not seen since before WWII. It’s remarkable.