There’s a chance things might get better in Syria. The Kurds are doing the heavy lifting. They protect Americans. They’re pragmatic. We owe the Kurds increased solidarity. The Kurds are like a girlfriend that never gives up on you. They very well might the best shot we have at eliminating ISIS if we openly support an independent Kurdish state.

Because Turkey will do whatever it can to prevent that.

The most recent cease-fire feels like an acknowledgment that Aleppo is hell on earth. In that hell, people do not have access to resources. The more responsible nations involved want to allow humanitarian aid to sweep the nation, because it’s the right thing to do. So is supporting the Kurds at this point.

The cease-fire, however, will not so quietly end whenever someone decides there’s enough aid. There’s no telling when that will be. But no doubt, the respite is welcome to civilians in Aleppo. Meanwhile, it won’t last and is not intended to be a solution. So, what’s the answer in Syria?

There are options to explore, but very few do not mean open warfare for us as a nation, which may be inevitable. But a no-fly zone might be unavoidable in the future. The world won’t allow places like Aleppo to rage indefinitely. It makes everyone look bad. The world’s average citizens will begin to question the motives of the ruling class when widely known and covered massive injustices like Aleppo, Syria are allowed to go on without abating.

Syria, I think, is an example of a new kind of foreign policy doctrine emerging, a return to war by other means. War is taken out of context and put back under political convenience. But we are in a constant state of competition for resources. Statecraft and economic warfare are the base of all conflict. We must be masters of it.

If and when we send Special Forces into Syria it should be to mask something else going on at a strategic level. Our operations should be less unilateral and instead of rolling heads we should be persuading them. Political action needs to make a return. The easiest fix to Assad is if, somehow, people in Damascus and around him decide they’re tired of this. Assad isn’t a winner – he’s a survivor. His existence only limits the potential of Damascus to retain Syria and gain prosperity into the future. At this point, the world wants him was gone, and he eventually will be.

If Assad is out of the equation, it’s no less simple but less distracted. Then the real problem will be ISIS and finding rural work and land for the rebels. The rebels may hate Assad, but they love living out their lives more so. We can let them by granting them a provincial government.