Rarely has indecision proved so promising. For hours yesterday officials from the Pentagon-Langley-Foggy Bottom complex huddled in the White House "to deliberate over options" in response to Syria's latest sectarian madness--options which, as one foreign diplomat put it, are "all bad," although some, such as U.S. missile strikes and air campaigns, are decidedly worse.
So they fitfully slept on it, only to find this morning, no doubt, that bad is still bad, worse still worse. The Assad regime may be a ruthless gang of Alawite cutthroats, but it can sleep in some coziness knowing that its principal opposition is an amalgamated gang of Sunni cutthroats, ruthlessly alienating the world's affections and repelling assistance.
Still, there's the unshakable bugaboo of, and "political risk" to, "Mr. Obama's credibility," notes the NY Times. Administration hawks well understand the extortionate lure of yelling Democratic weakness in the fiery environ of a warroom, on top of which they'll pile the perils of global scorn. But--see preceding paragraph--Syria's regional equation just doesn't add up this time. The "good guys" there are not only some real bad guys; they are conceivably far worse than the other bad guys.
What to do, what to do. How about nothing? Sit and wait it out, in sort of a decisively indecisive way.