September 9 2013
photo by Reuters
This commentary appeared on GlobalSecurity.org on September 6, 2013.
Facing the possibility of U.S. military attack, Bashar al-Assad should worry about his long-term future. But based upon the historical record, any American military attack is more likely to be aimed at coercion than at threatening his immediate survival as president of Syria.
The U.S. has launched a series of measured air attacks in recent years — sometimes with the objective of hastening regime change, but more often as a deterrent or to issue a statement about American will and intent. But such surgical strikes have rarely meant the downfall of embattled regimes.