Henry Kissinger thinks the US and the world should slow down any movement toward military intervention in Syria. In a Washington Post essay, he raises a series of questions about this type of "humanitarian intervention," a doctrine he says has emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring movement. "Does America consider itself obliged to support every popular uprising against any non-democratic government, including those heretofore considered important in sustaining the international system?" he asks, using Saudi Arabia as a potential example.
Any military intervention, whether for humanitarian or more traditional "strategic" reasons, needs two things: a consensus on what government replaces the one being deposed and an "explicit and achievable" political objective. "I doubt that the Syrian issue meets these tests," writes Kissinger. "In the absence of a clearly articulated strategic concept, a world order that erodes borders and merges international and civil wars can never catch its breath." Read his full essay here.