… pubblicata sul Washington Post.
[…] The difference between strategic and humanitarian intervention becomes relevant. The world community defines humanitarian intervention by consensus, so difficult to achieve that it generally limits the effort. On the other hand, intervention that is unilateral or based on a coalition of the willing evokes the resistance of countries fearing the application of the policy to their territories (such as China and Russia). Hence it is more difficult to achieve domestic support for it. The doctrine of humanitarian intervention is in danger of being suspended between its maxims and the ability to implement them; unilateral intervention, by contrast, comes at the price of international and domestic support.
Military intervention, humanitarian or strategic, has two prerequisites: First, a consensus on governance after the overthrow of the status quo is critical. If the objective is confined to deposing a specific ruler, a new civil war could follow in the resulting vacuum, as armed groups contest the succession, and outside countries choose different sides. Second, the political objective must be explicit and achievable in a domestically sustainable time period. I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests. We cannot afford to be driven from expedient to expedient into undefined military involvement in a conflict taking on an increasingly sectarian character. In reacting to one human tragedy, we must be careful not to facilitate another. In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath. A sense of nuance is needed to give perspective to the proclamation of absolutes. This is a nonpartisan issue, and it should be treated in that manner in the national debate we are entering.