Many voices from across the political spectrum are urging U.S. intervention in Syria after allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against rebels garrisoned in Damascus. Cited in encouragement for military recourse are violating human rights with the use of chemical weaponry and anti-Americanism from the Syrian president. But armed conflict need not be considered imperative and should not be considered inevitable.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against rebel forces. The proper retaliation to such a crime against humanity is diplomatic pressure. The U.S. must be willing to parley with both those funding the Assad regime (Iran and Russia) and those supplying the Syrian rebels (Saudi Arabia and Qatar). Direct military involvement would do little to protect Syrian citizens, and there is no evidence to suggest that intervention would hasten the civil war's resolution. The U.S. must also consider the political associations of the rebels; some are known to have strong affiliations with al-Qaida, and so deposing Syria's leaders might result only in the seizure of power by a hostile faction.
A Reuters poll shows that a plurality of Americans do not want the U.S. to intervene. This statistic is unsurprising; the American public is exhausted by the reiteration of rhetoric used to justify unwanted warfare for the past decade. Let's pacify the hawkish sentiment and consider negotiations.
Hilton Head Island