The West would do well to save itself before it starts contemplating new interventions in the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere. Internal rifts and structural weaknesses in both Europe and the United States have led to a marked decline in Western influence.
A few years ago, the West had a greater opportunity to save Syria. Today, the political, economic, and military costs have risen exponentially. The longer the conflict continues, the higher the cost will be to the West.
EU countries who suffer considerably from the spillover of the conflict—receiving waves of refugees and facing homegrown terrorists who feel encouraged by ISIS—are in no position to influence what is happening on the ground.
Against this background, the days that during which the West could have saved Syria are gone. At best, the West—together with Russia (which has emerged as an essential factor in any future solution in Syria due to the West’s lack of the determination), Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—can help reach a ceasefire that will hopefully pave the way for a political solution. Currently, even that scenario looks beyond reach.