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by on April 30, 2011

P.J. Crowley on the Arab Spring:

The administration’s caution with Syria is certainly due in part to the uncertainty that what follows Assad would be better. But if that were the criteria guiding us, we would have stuck with Hosni Mubarak. Another factor is the absence of the strong regional support that crystallized around Libya. Again, if that is a precondition, the Arab Spring will end in Tripoli or Sana’a, depending on which leader holds out the longest.

And yet the political case for regime change in Syria is compelling, and far more fundamental to long-term regional interests. We want Gaddafi to go, a leader we took off the state sponsor of terrorism list. We appear prepared to tolerate a leader whose regime remains on the list—and for good reason.

While Assad has kept the border with Israel quiet, every other action he has taken, most particularly his alliances with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, undermine the overarching U.S. objective in the region: comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

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