December 12 2012
This commentary appeared on The Washington Post on December 12, 2012 as part of a debate on its Think Tanked blog.
Indiscriminate shelling, a refugee crisis, al-Qaeda-linked fighters—all these factors are driving the international community to consider intervention in Syria. But nothing is concentrating minds more than the specter of Syria breaking out its chemical weapons.
Indeed, the chemical weapons threat has raised the stakes, and negotiators need to do everything to dissuade Assad from using them. But if the weapons are used, policymakers need to prepare not only to quickly end their use, but to think past the immediate crisis and plan for the weapons' ultimate disposal. That could entail several concrete steps.