America should build ties with the Free Syrian
Army with the goal of denying extremist groups the ability to dominate the
armed resistance and gaining influence with groups that will dominate Syria’s future.
It was failing to build those ties in Afghanistan
that allowed the resistance groups who opposed the Soviet
Union to disintegrate into the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The Syrian crisis has become a Gordian knot that cannot be easily disentangled. As daunting as the crisis looks, there is a cost to inaction — in human suffering, regional instability and damage to
global standing. And as the Syrian crisis escalates, America
and the world will only rediscover their stakes in the Middle
East. If Obama truly wants to pivot away from the Middle East then
he has to help end the bloodletting in Syria.