The Obama administration keeps spinning its wheels on Syria. Because the White House sees no clear American interest in toppling Bashar al-Assad, it has tasked out Syria policy to others, first Turkey then the Arab League, and pleads for an international chorus condemning the Syrian regime at the U.N. Security Council. Because the administration cannot register that national interest is the prime mover of nation-states, it does not understand why Russia, along with China, keeps vetoing resolutions against Assad.

After her several tirades directed against the Russians for their obstinacy, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s routine is getting tiresome. Does the White House really not know whom they are dealing with? Either the administration is deeply cynical or unfathomably naïve. Moscow has an interest in seeing Assad survive—and blocking the United States.

As Elliott Abrams makes clear in a post at National Review Online, “The goal for the US in Syria is simple: to defeat our enemies. Iran and Russia appear to see this very clearly. So should we.”

Abrams explains how we might go about doing it, by funding and training Syrian opposition forces, via regional proxies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Michael Weiss at the Telegraph blog sees the situation similarly: “Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have all been ‘intervening’ in Syria’s internal affairs for ten months now.” Why isn’t the White House?

Weiss also includes a more direct plea from an opposition spokesman, who calls “for unilateral American and British intervention. We also want to improve our relations with the US administration and people after the revolution, but we need you to save us. We are getting slaughtered, save us.”

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