Friday, October 13, 2017

The Problem of the Gordian Knot

With the defeat of ISIL in Syria looming, America faces a Gordian Knot of what to do as Assad backed by Iran and Russia pushes east into the relative vacuum.

Assad is moving east backed by Russia and Iran, even as rebels endure in the west.

If American forces stay to support our Kurdish and Syrian allies after defeating ISIL, we risk conflict with Russia and Iran, and even with Turkey our formal NATO ally (which has moved into Idlib province in the northwest to contain the Syrian Kurds); and we risk casualties from terror attacks sponsored by Syria or Iran in eastern Syria.

Yet if we leave, we abandon allies, losing credibility. Who will work with us in the future if we don't help our allies survive after their use to us is deemed over? This is especially problematic given the reputation Putin has gained for sticking with Assad when he looked doomed.

And by leaving we grant Iran room to maneuver in Syria where Iran wants bases and lines of supply to their client Hezbollah which lost 1,500 men fighting for Assad so far and is expected to fight Israel at some point.

I've mentioned this new stage of the war problem before.

Indeed, I foresaw this issue as the fourth stage of the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria before America embarked on Iraq War 2.0.

The author of the article initially linked to says Trump faces a Gordian Knot in deciding what to do.

But oddly, the author doesn't identify what the Gordian Knot is.

Remember, the Gordian Knot is so tight that it can't be untangled. The solution is not to try to pull apart the many strands of the problem but to take a sword to the knot and cut it at one stroke--a single solution outside of the box, so to speak.

The fact is, I've long identified the Gordian Knot with our problems in the region (and with North Korea, for that matter). And this new Syria problem is just one more strand in the knot that would be better undone by cutting the knot--Iran ruled by the nutball mullahs.