Blasting News wrote about the first half of a discussion on Charlie Rose between Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens and former deputy national security advisor and deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration, Tony Blinken. The article was about how much the conservative columnist wanted to make his point that the Obama administration was responsible for the deaths of Syrian civilians for not taking military action in 2013.

The second half of the discussion centered around the consensus view as to what Syria's future should be.

The Charlie Rose program played a clip of an interview from the previous night with former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. In the clip, he said that the Syrian Civil War was essentially over and that Assad has won. Many had accepted this with the fact that the Obama administration spent the entirety of his second term with a U.S.-led coalition in Syria to conduct air strikes against ISIS targets on the ground and to support the Syrian opposition.

But the presence of Russian forces in Syria since 2015 and their air strikes against rebel fighters and civilian targets provided enough support for the view that Assad would stay in power. To go with this, foreign policy geeks felt that with Donald Trump winning the election, it largely meant a win for Russia and Syria and therefore the end of the West's perception that President Assad had to be toppled.

For those consumers of news about foreign affairs, Syria's future would now be influenced by a U.S president who would let Russia take the lead.

Syrian opposition will not stop

But Ford also said that the opposition would not stop and even continue to fight Assad's forces for another one to two years. Under the feeling that Assad had already won, he said that the regime would crush the opposition and there would no longer be any opposition left.

Bret Stephens disagreed, saying that as long as Assad was in power, the Sunni's would rise up against him. He added that there was no solution to the Syrian Civil War as long as Bashar al-Assad was president. Blinken also contributed to this view saying that one side could not really crush the other because there are always more powers coming in to prop the losing side.

Here is another interview with Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning where Ford talks about the problems of toppling Assad.

The Syrian Civil War got its start with the Arab Spring uprising that spread throughout the Middle East where protesters demanded changes to their government. The Assad regime is rooted with the Alawite branch of Islam which protesters said had ruled Syria for too long, just as those who governed in Egypt and in Libya who were forced out by their own people. Countries such as Iran and Russia have contributed to fighting against the uprising on Assad's behalf while Saudi Arabia's involvement is to support the rebels. In the autonomous northern region are the Kurds who have held the border against ISIS.

The threat to ending the Assad regime was certainly cause for the Kurds to demand their own state, just like the Kurds in northern Iraq who have demanded the same. While Syria and Iraq have become breeding grounds for Islamic extremists, the Kurds have proven themselves to be the most efficient fighting force against ISIS.

Partitioning Syria

Blinken also said that opposing forces would fight to exhaustion, saying that the life cycle of a civil war generally stands at around 10-years. But he also said that the solution to Syria would be a combination of military action and diplomacy driven by external powers but no external power has been willing to do that. This is also the case with the Trump administration which has said that they're not interested in toppling Assad, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has tried to influence Russia to accept that there is no future in protecting the Syrian President.

Without a White House that's willing to take a stand past the use of military might, which was recently only used to send a message, this still appears to be the case.

Stephens, however, pushed it further with a plan to partition Syria. As mentioned in another Blasting News article, President Trump's aide Sebastian Gorka has reportedly made a similar suggestion for Libya which is also been entrenched in a civil war for power. Bret said that it makes no sense for Syria to remain a unitary state because it will always be engaged in a power struggle. He said that in a “messy way” an Alawite state could exist centered around Latakia or the coastal region on the Mediterranean, then the Kurds can take their autonomous region in the north because that appears to be working in Iraq.

And yet, he said that some level of American intervention would have to remain in the area.

Bashar al-Assad is a greater threat than ISIS

He also said that as much as the point is to exterminate ISIS, that they were not the strategic threat that Bashar al-Assad is who could create a nexus between Tehran, Damascus, Beirut with Hezbollah and Moscow. As a candidate, Donald Trump has said that his goal was to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth. But then the question Charlie Rose had was about there being leverage on the ground which Tony Blinken responded to by saying that the strikes on the Syrian airbase was leverage by the U.S. But currently, many would admit that Russia has the leverage on the ground. And since President Trump's attack, it's Russia he's having to answer to.