The civil war in Syria raises more questions than answers.
While warning Syria's President Assad that the use of chemical weapons could prompt U.S. intervention in that country's civil war, President Obama is taking a wait-and-see attitude about the continuing conflict in that country.
Frankly, it's hard to see what else the U.S. should do, given how overextended our military is and the lack of clarity that surrounds the violence in Syria.
There is no doubt that President Bashar Assad is a ruthless cutthroat who has been brutally repressing his people, just as his father did for decades before him. But who are those currently trying to dislodge Assad from power, and what do they offer the people of Syria?
That may well be another example of trading one ruthless dictator for another, and, if that is the case, why should the U.S. intervene?
The U.S. already has gone through a similar experience in Egypt. Our country played a decisive role in persuading President Hosni Mubarak to step down rather than violently resist the efforts of rebels to force him from power.
But the promised democracy that was to result from what naive people labeled the Arab Spring has yet to show itself, and chances are good that it never will.
Egypt held an election, but it takes more than an election to have a democracy where there is the rule of law and respect for minority rights.
The Muslim Brotherhood was elected in Egypt, and it's hard to believe given their historic intolerance of those who do not share their views that Egypt won't evolve into a theocracy similar to that in Iran. Conversely, the Egyptian army has historically played a huge role in governing the country, posing a counterweight to the Muslim Brotherhood's control of the country. Either way, this is not shaping up as a new birth of freedom for the long-suffering people of Egypt.
It's impossible to predict if Syria faces a similarly bleak future. But Assad has demonstrated that he won't leave unless he's forced out, and his military supporters have launched a killing spree intended to quell dissent. Meanwhile, Assad's foes have indicated nothing other than that they are opposed to Assad, no doubt holding a variety of different views about what Syria's future should be.
In that context, what is the U.S. interest in Syria other than seeing the killing end but having no means to produce that result without putting U.S. personnel and material at risk? There is none.