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For the Obama administration, Syria was a public information challenge to be managed: not a fit subject for a national security strategy.The Trump administration will not blackmail itself in Syria for the sake of an agreement that Iran found to be very much in its own interests.Even though the Trump administration has no more interest than its predecessor did in invading and occupying Assad's Syria and engaging in violent regime change, surely it must aim diplomatically for a complete Syrian political transition away from a mafia family that is destroying the Syrian state and making the country safe for other forms of violent extremism."Effective Syrian governance" in areas to be liberated from Daesh is, for starters, non-Assad governance. Clearing Daesh from eastern Syria, facilitating non-Assad governance, and protecting the liberated areas from Assad and Iranian-led foreign Shiite militias is a tall order. Ideally eastern Syria would be a huge safe zone with a Syrian administration that the U.S. and its partners can recognize as the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic.The failure of the Obama administration to do anything but talk about civilian slaughter in Syria encouraged Russian adventurism not only in Syria, but in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe.The Assad regime is the beating heart of the Syrian catastrophe.
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