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News Tip: 'Coercive Diplomacy' Better Than Military Action in Syria
Fifteen months of violence have brought Syria to the brink of civil war. Direct military intervention is more likely to compound than resolve the situation.
Professor of public policy and political science, Duke University
Jentleson is a leading scholar of American foreign policy who has worked in both the Obama and Clinton State Departments on the Middle East as well as genocide and mass atrocities prevention. His expertise includes conflict prevention and peacekeeping, international security, the Middle East, and U.S. Foreign Policy. He met with Syria's President Assad in 2009 as part of an unofficial study group
Jentleson is also co-author of a just released paper, "Strategic Adaptation: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East," published by the Center for a New American Security, accessible at http://www.cnas.org/strategicadaptation.
"The situation in Syria confronts the United States and the international community with increasingly pressing and tough choices. Syrian President Assad and his forces are perpetrating horrific violence against the Syrian people. While the killings elicit understandable calls for taking military action, in the absence of an international mandate and a viable strategy, direct military intervention is more likely to compound than resolve the situation.
"An 'outside-inside' coercive diplomacy strategy is the better option: From the outside, step up pressures from the UN and the 60-plus nation Friends of Syria coalition, including tighter and tougher sanctions and finding the right mix of pressure and negotiations to get Russia to shift its position.
"And on the inside, aid the opposition, short of fully arming it, while also working to turn key Syrian elites who may have begun to question whether their own interests are best served by continued support for the regime."