Assad Is Here to Stay

Watch as another red line dissolves into thin air:

With its Syria policy in tatters and Europe alarmed at a tide of refugees, the Obama administration and its allies are contemplating a policy shift that once seemed unthinkable: A peace formula that would allow President Bashar Assad to remain in office, at least on an interim basis.

Assad’s future, and a possibly revamped U.S. strategy on Syria, are expected to be high on the agenda as the United Nations General Assembly meets Monday in New York and President Obama sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia appears to be doubling down on its support for Assad, bolstering military aid to Damascus just as the West is wavering on its insistence that Assad must go.

“Interim” in the same temporary way Putin annexed Crimea.

I’d also question Patrick McDonnell’s use of “Syria policy” in the lede. The Administration’s “policy” on Syria has been nonexistent where it hasn’t been inconsistent, and feckless where it hasn’t been nonexistent.

We haven’t had a policy on Syria since Obama backed away from his own red line on chemical weapons — just a series of half-measures to mask his retreat.

The only remaining question is what further concessions Putin will extract from Obama in exchange for pretending to agree that someday Assad will go.