In the US, there are surprising signs of support for a US intervention. A Monitor/TIPP poll conducted from June 1 to June 8 found that 15 percent of Americans think the US should "take the lead" in a military intervention in Syria and that 19 percent think the US should "lead from behind encouraging and bolstering military action by many countries but not driving it." The poll's margin of error was plus/minus 3.3 percentage points.
While the most popular answers were the US should not get involved militarily (29 percent) or only if "no ground campaign is involved" (27 percent), it's surprising that 34 percent of Americans are willing to consider a direct military engagement in another Middle Eastern country when the war in Iraq just ended and the war in Afghanistan continues. More atrocities in Syria will surely tip the needle closer to public support.
Many opinion makers are pushing for a US-initiated invasion as soon as possible, from the neocon John Bolton to the influential columnist and liberal interventionist Nick Kristof. Mr. Kristof offers an emotion-laden, moralistic call to arms over Syria (and Sudan) while ignoring the uncomfortable question of whether that really serves American interests.
The reliably hawkish Mr. Bolton at least tries to make the case. He argues in a piece for the National Review this week that President Barack Obama should ignore the concerns of some that unilateral action could put the US at loggerheads with Russia, and undermine whatever slim hopes that negotiations with Iran (another key backer of Mr. Assad) over its nuclear program could succeed. In fact, he seems to relish the prospect.