It is important to ask why the international community is so reticent about taking a strong stand against Syria. The reasons vary.
One factor is the skepticism regarding evidence of chemical weapons use. The invasion of Iraq on the grounds Saddam Hussein was hiding his chemical arsenal is still fresh in the world’s memory.
But it’s likely the main consideration is the lack of meaningful reforms in other Arab nations where long-time dictatorships have been overthrown in recent years. In countries such as Libya and Egypt, the so-called Arab Spring hasn’t exactly led to peace and democracy.
And while Obama is dealing with critics who think he’s being too aggressive, others say he should have intervened in Syria much earlier. The rebels in Syria’s civil war, who seem to have a mix of motives, range from moderate reformers to Islamic radicals. Interventionists argue that had the United States actively supported the right rebels earlier, it would have thwarted radical interests in Syria.
Now, the Syrian regime has had time to prepare for any attack, including the movement of its chemical weapons supplies in order to hide them. Giving Syria an extended warning means that any attack is likely to have a diminished impact.