Who would have thought that a wretched, backwards little country about which few in the west ever think, let alone care about, could trigger one of the world's great conflagrations?
There are no good guys in Syria's civil war. We are at the deplorable point in world affairs that the despotic Russian President Putin has more credibility than US Secretary of State Kerry, when the latter has said "moderates" are in charge of Syria's rebellion and the former called him a liar.
A world war is not going to break out if the US bombs Syria to punish it for using chemical weapons against rebels. But it's worth remembering that just under 100 years ago, the assassination of an Austrian archduke in Serbia triggered a war which was responsible for history's greatest loss of life of soldiers in battle. The point being, these things have a way of getting out of hand when national leaders don't know what they are doing.
Barack Obama is not a President whose leadership inspires great confidence on the world stage. It is for that very reason that he does need to keep his word and launch a punitive strike in Syria. Not to teach Bashar al-Assad a lesson, but to keep the world from spiraling into the even more chaotic state of instability that would worsen if miscreant nations realized that American threats carry no weight.
Because of Obama's dithering and then mishandling of the Syrian file, he now has to strike.
But strike whom?
The west has nothing to gain and much to lose if the scales are tipped too far in either direction in Syria. However one of the reasons Syria is a linchpin in its region is its close relationship with Iran and its influence in Lebanon with the Iranian-proxy terror group Hezbollah.
Both Iran and Hezbollah have sent fighters to support Assad in the civil war.
American military intelligence knows precisely where the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah fighters serving Assad's cause are stationed.
It is they whom the US should strike, and it should be done decisively.
Syrians would not be infuriated at the deaths of foreigners that insinuated themselves into their domestic affairs. Assad would not be toppled by the loss of the Iranians and Hezbollah auxiliaries. But a clear message would be sent, both to the reprobate Mullahs in Tehran, who have terrorized the Middle East since the Khomeini revolution in 1979, and to their subordinate stooges who maintain a stranglehold over domestic affairs in Lebanon through thuggery and intimidation.
Obama could accomplish a great deal if he has the resolve to push through the measure. It would restore him as a world leader, help stave off the collapse of American credibility, and even give the US President an opportunity to provide a "teachable moment" to the world's most vile rogues.