President Obama has sensibly opted to seek support from Congress on Syria, which provides a window of time to approach another body that should offer more than moral support: NATO. Here’s more from my OpEd in today’s New York Times:
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization must be part of an international effort to respond to the crisis in Syria, beginning immediately with punitive strikes following the highly probable use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. The president, the secretaries of defense and state, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should all approach their counterparts to secure NATO action.
Such action could be justified based on self-defense, owing to the threat posed to Turkey, a NATO member that has backed Mr. Obama’s call for an American-led intervention; the overall threat posed by weapons of mass destruction; and, more controversially, on the evolving international doctrine of a “responsibility to protect.” NATO has not moved forward so far, because of the absence of a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing action against Syria, but that is not required under the rules of the alliance — indeed, NATO has previously acted with force without such approval, notably in Kosovo in 1999.
Despite the potential unpopularity of such action — particularly following Parliament’s vote on Aug. 29 against Britain’s use of military force — such a mission is at the core of NATO’s role in the 21st century. While NATO had a Security Council resolution to enforce in Libya, in 2011, the alliance went into Kosovo without such approval. That could be the case in Syria, with a strong push by the United States and its allies France and Turkey, which have pledged to support an intervention in Syria. As with Libya, not every nation would need to actually provide forces (only about half did so in Libya), so long as all supported the basic principle of engagement. Read more >>
Dean Stavridis with his basset hound, Lilly.
Dean James Stavridis is the 12th leader of The Fletcher School since its founding in 1933. A retired Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander.
- Cyber Attacks and the Fallout from Trump’s Russian Tête-à-Tête: This Week in the News May 18, 2017
- Mr. Stavridis Goes to Washington May 12, 2017
- Introducing Fletcher’s Center for Strategic Studies & Professor Monica Duffy Toft May 5, 2017
- A Conversation with Maria Kristensen (F02), 2017 Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award Winner April 28, 2017
- What Can You Do With a Fletcher Education? April 21, 2017
- A U.S. Foreign Policy Reset April 14, 2017
- Dealing with Dictatorships April 7, 2017
- Why Fletcher? March 31, 2017
- On Reading and Leading March 24, 2017
- Don’t Make Diplomacy the “Missing Man” in Our Foreign Policy Formation March 20, 2017