Les leçons de la Syrie

PRINCETON – Alors que les Etats-Unis et la Russie tentent de mettre sur pied une conférence qui réunirait les parties prenantes du conflit syrien autour de la table de négociations, les pays participants occidentaux potentiels pourraient, à tout le moins, réfléchir aux implications plus vastes qu’a ce conflit pour les dictatures et les démocraties dans le monde. En voici les premières leçons :

Les méchants aident leurs amis. Les Russes et les Iraniens sont prêts à tout pour maintenir le président Bachar el-Assad au pouvoir. Le Hezbollah, appuyé par l’Iran, s’est maintenant ouvertement engagé dans le conflit aux côtés du régime Assad. La Russie et l’Iran ont fourni des armes lourdes et d’autres formes d’assistance militaire au gouvernement syrien, dont une livraison par la Russie de missiles anti-navires sophistiqués, équipés de systèmes de radar avancés, qui devraient permettre à Assad de repousser ses ennemis et de se replier dans un mini-État alaouite comprenant le port de Tartous qui abrite une base navale russe.

La diplomatie sans la menace crédible d’un recours à la force sonne creux. « Parlez doucement et portez un gros bâton » conseillait Theodore Roosevelt. Le président Barack Obama préfère à juste titre que les Etats-Unis prennent la tête des affaires mondiales grâce à leur entregent civil plutôt qu’à leur puissance militaire. Il sait que les solutions militaires aux problèmes de politique étrangère sont extrêmement coûteuses et souvent contreproductives en termes de la sécurité et de la prospérité à long terme des Etats-Unis.

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