Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hoping for an Adlai Stevenson Moment

It looks like Mr. Annan's effort to halt the killings in Syria has failed. Assad has not recognized a ceasefire and continues with the relentless and brutal murder of fellow Syrians.

What now?

The Syrian National Council (a new entity, for me. I don't remember hearing that phrase before. I wouldn't be surprised if it was just created, but cited in passing, giving the group an air of legitimacy) is asking for money, guns, and material. Secretary Clinton has confirmed that the US is sending communications equipment to the rebels, including night vision goggles. For the moment, guns are not being supplied by the international community.

But what next?

My feeling is that tomorrow, when Kofi Annan briefs the Security Council on the next steps for Syria, he should summon the spirit of Adlai Stevenson (a personal hero) and really stick it to Assad. Mr. Annan has to call it like it is and expose the Assad regime for what they really are -- murderers. Only then will China and Russia have the incentive to support a resolution aimed at stopping the violence and ousting Assad. If Mr. Annan, a well respected and decidedly docile diplomat, shows some vigor in his assessment of the situation, it could very well be the turning point in this sad story. Without his strong support for international action, China and Russia will continue to veto any resolution that the Security Council puts forth.

Mr. Annan, the Syrians cannot wait until hell freezes over. The world needs to act. Now.

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