Monday, September 16, 2013

Give Syria Some Space

Syria dominates the news. By now, we all know about the rockets fired in the suburbs of the country’s capital last month, killing hundreds, if not thousands. The weapons reportedly contained a nerve agent, likely sarin. You can read more about that story elsewhere — and everywhere. Here you can read about a different crisis I’ve uncovered in Syria, albeit one on a much smaller scale.

Russia, it turns out, isn’t the only one tight with Bashar Assad’s country. Against is close to Syria. Too close. In an alarming development, the rebellious preposition has positioned itself along the country’s western border. Against is with Syria? They don’t belong together; they aren’t me and Mila Kunis, or lamb and tuna fish.

In his prime-time speech last week, President Obama vowed that he “will not pursue an open-ended action” in Syria. My philosophy, when dealing with Syria, is to pursue open spaces on each end. With that in mind, I met with Russia’s president today. We’ve drawn a red line in the Middle East sand, urging the writer to “Putin” a space after the t. Otherwise, we strike. We’ll fire a blank area near your capital. You’re either with us or against us … or Damascus.

Unlike our 1950s and ‘60s predecessors, the Russian president (who, ironically, is a V.P.) and I avoided the contention that permeated the first race involving “space” exploration. We knew it was in everyone’s best interests to treat against and Syria the way we would lights and darks on laundry day.

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