…is still my enemy.  Nowhere is this more true than in the Middle East.  Here’s a quick quiz:

Which country is currently divided between religious fanatics determined to impose a theocracy on the entire world and a cadre of murderous kleptocratic thugs who will stop at nothing to gain or preserve power and control:

  1. Egypt
  2. Syria
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Libya
  5. Iraq
  6. Iran
  7. Yemen
  8. Qatar
  9. Sudan
  10. Bahrain
  11. All of the above.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for anyone’s mideast policy this far, is it?  But a failed mideast policy is better than no mideast policy, so let’s look at the question of the hour.

Right now, the President is “assessing his options” on a “measured response” to the recent gas attacks, which were launched by the Assad regime against defenseless civilians.  Why?  What on earth did they have to gain by doing the one thing that would certainly force Obama’s hand towards intervention?

Oops.  First of all, apparently it doesn’t force any such thing.  The “red line” has become a pink parasol, which our leader twirls daintily about as he tries desperately to figure out how to please both sides of the debate:  those who view any type of entanglement with this tar baby as suicidally doomed and logically indefensible, and those who demand that we “just can’t sit by and do nothing as thousands of innocent people are barbarically slaughtered.”

As for the latter, I can’t see why not; we do it all the time.  I don’t say it’s necessarily the right thing to do all the time, but why now?  How is Syria different from, say, the Sudan, or any of a half-dozen African hellholes where the death counts are measures in thousands on a monthly basis?  Frankly, if there ever was a good one to sit out, this one looks like it’s it.

But who launched the chemical attack?  Surely no one would find it credible that the anti-Assad forces would deliberately slaughter hundreds of innocents, including women and children, simply to further their own political agenda?  Oh — never mind.

Second, as usual, the situation is “complicated.”  Which Syria are you talking about?  The proxy for Russian tweaking of Western noses, and one of its largest customers for arms?  Or the proxy for Iran, which flings its Hezbollah mercenaries across Lebanon’s borders to wage another brotherly Shia/Sunni spat?  The Syria of al Qaeda jihadis?  The Syria of merciless secularism, which once shelled an entire city of (largely) orthodox Muslims into rubble and body parts?

No matter what we and others may do there, it seems unlikely that whoever emerges victorious locally will produce a society of any civility.  We can hope, but the results (see list above) thus far are unencouraging.

Happily, however, there is a solution that presents itself: preserve the status quo.  And that appears to be exactly what Obama is bent on.  Just keep the buggers at each others’ throats as long as possible, in the hope that it will contain their mischief within their own borders.  It seems to be working in more than a few of these spots, and where one side does gain ascendancy over the other in any meaningful way — well, that’s when they get really troublesome, e.g., Iran.  Neca eos omnes?  Not at all.  Let them kill each other?  Why not?  As the improbable pastor in “Local Hero” said when the jets loosed a laod of oordance on a nearby coastline:

“As long as they’re bombing the beach, they can’t be bombing someplace else.  It’s kind of encouraging.”

The best resolution to the Syrian “conflict” is no resolution at all?  Yes — as long as the enemy of my enemy remains my enemy.