It is too often that one has had lately to hear all kinds of demagoguery coming from Western leaders and political observers which boil down to the simple formula 'We cannot do anything more about Syria, cos all our non-military arsenal of levers and means of pressure has been exhausted'. To me that sounds like barefaced cheap lies - very cynical too.
There are a lots of things in the arsenal of the US & its Western allies to contribute to democratic revolution in Syria, or, at least, overthrowing Assad's repressive regime. What to do about Syria?
1. First of all, criminal proceedings should have been initiated against Assad in Hague Tribunal quite a time ago. Morally one cannot understand why it hasn't been done many months ago, but, taking into account the sad realities and absolute immorality of the politics of many so called democracies in the West it only stands to reason that Assad is not prosecuted by this 'controlled selective justice tool' - Hague Tribunal: many politicians in the West are still holding out hope that Assad's forces will prevail in the end, no real responsibility for saving Syrians will not have to be taken and Syria will continue to remain blissfully weak and therefore safe country in the eyes if the US - just as is the case with all the rest of the Middle East (about the purposeful policies of the West aimed at creating and keeping bloody dictators in the Middle East see also http://dr-world.blogspot.com/2011/03/america-refused-to-teach-arabs.html, http://dr-world.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-did-west-start-war-against-gaddafi.html and http://dr-world.blogspot.com/2011/03/some-extra-about-moral-political-crisis.html). It goes without saying that not having started prosecuting Assad through the Hague Tribunal just adds to the ruining of the already disfigured image and reputation of those justice institutions and principles.
2. Stop buying oil.
3. Stop all diplomatic relations with Syria, call back all diplomats.
4. FREEZE all bank accounts and transaction of the regime and its officials.
5. Deny entry visa and movement of any Syrian regime officials within (and through) the territory of the Western and countries.
6. Continue information war and moral support (there is huge experience accumulated by the West in this respect in the times of the Cold War, ranging from radio-channels provided for the dissidents of the regime to helping with financing the opposition groups' own press and information campaigns).
7. One the most important things to do: provide free specialist consultation to the opposition groups on more effective political fight tactics and organizations, about leadership formation and the creation of institutions.
8. Last but not least: Western powers must publicly PROMISE that irrespective of the situation in Syria the West's relations won't improve and all the sanctions will stay in force. Veeeery important step, because, obviously, now the Syrian government hopes (just as any other government would do in its place), that if it finally succeeds in suppressing the revolutionary forces, over time the situation will come back to normal, the West as ever, will calm down, and everything will be business as usual.
9. You don't need to be Machiavelli to understand that president Assad and his groups would resist to as long as possible and kill as many people as necessary to support their hope, for one simple reason: they FEAR for their lives. If the West is really interested in promoting democracy and saving as many civilian lives as possible (which I doubt very much on the historical grounds) they can negotiate a form of guaranties for Assad's life - kind of safe 'prison-asylum'. I am all for putting Assad on trial, but, as a man who REALLY wants to stop the blood shed in Syria, I would happily agree to 'imprison' Assad like Napoleon on some island with a life-long pension, servants and safe good conditions, ONLY to STOP the killings and facilitate the regime change. With all my hatred of people like Assad, thousands of innocent lives and a speedy change of regime for me are thousands times more valuable that one life of this butcher.
All theses things are understood and known by Western powers no worse than by me, but they are not done. Hope that new players like Turkey will help Syrian people much faster than Western HYPER-HYPOCRITES!
Iran's nuclear program.
I am less than happy about Iran's nuclear program in the form it is now, BUT, unfortunately, as a rational man, I have to recognize the overwhelming probability that now nobody can prevent Iran from developing the enrichment process and getting all the ingredients to built its own nuclear explosive device. In my mind it's almost a forgone conclusion, though, I hasten to add, that it's not necessarily the main goal of the Iranian regime to construct an actual bomb. The main thing for them is to reach and demonstrate the absolute ability to built the bomb at will.
Also I have no doubts at all that the turning point in Iran's nuclear program and the huge window of opportunity Iran used for playing this card were created by Bush's government policy and actions (no matter deliberately or not), that's the US. After America got quite predictably bogged down into the unprecedentedly ugly, immoral and stupid war in Iraq while continuing to stay in Afghanistan (for reasons unknown too), there were no more factors left that could restrain Iran from going nuclear. This was rationally absolutely predictable and almost inevitable, and, in my view, therefore, the whole responsibility for any Iran's successes on this front must be FULLY placed on the US. In this sense Israel may say many many 'thanks' to its big friend for this 'help'. Furthermore, the very coming into power of radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have been impossible without this 'performance' given by Bush on the Middle East stage. As is well known, before Ahmadinejad at the helm of Iran stood quite a moderate and incomparably more friendly and cultured Mohammad Khatami (who, by the way, mothballed the nuclear project). Of course the invasion of Iraq radicalized the Iranian society, giving such guys like Ahmadinejad a very good chance - a result, which cannot have been unpredicted (at least as a big possibility) by the White House.
Anyway, for now the technical and scientific potential of Iran at this stage of development and zero levers of the West to out pressure, in my mind, make Iran's becoming a nuclear state almost the inevitability. So one will have to live with that and build relations accordingly. All this fuss about Iran's threat to Israel or the US and, even more ridiculously, to Europe is, I am afraid, again is nothing more than a piece of very cheap, 20th century low standard demagoguery and propaganda.
Oh completely forgot, about DIPLOMATIC ways of preventing Iran from going nuclear and denuclearization of the Middle East : of course, it stands to reason and goes without saying, that Middle East should not have been nuclearized in the first place. In the 21th century, I hope, it is ridiculous even for a school boy to think that all those soulful, dear and 'highly moral' talks about preventing nuclear arms spread in the Middle East are just a kind of trite joke if in one package with it you don't discuss Israel with its illegal 200 nukes and one of the most powerful armies in the world (nonetheless additionally reinforced in the form of alliance by the most powerful army in the world - the US).
On the other hand, any strikes and military aggression against Iran will bring a chance that that country would be further radicalized and consider seriously using its technology for producing a real bomb. All those actions, be it on the part of Israel or the US, would mean really putting at (created) risk many people and many lives, and the responsibility for all the consequences of such, in my opinion CRIMINAL, gambling, would lie with those powers (that would start this harmful almost anti-humane, game).
That being said, there may be serious possibility to solve the 'nuclear' problem in theory: if - just assume for the sake of argument - the US gets serious about discussing Israel's nuclear arsenal and its denuclearization in the broad context together with Iran and all other countries in the Middle East. Such talk would be really an honest and adult attempt to start on the road to peace. But some 'inner voice' tells me (I hope it lies) that, though this fair and practicable way is obvious and workable, neither the US nor Israel will follow it in the foreseeable future, and the 20th century standard warmongering rhetoric will go on, further spoiling the international reputation and image of the US http://dr-world.blogspot.com/2011/03/some-extra-about-moral-political-crisis.html (you can't say anything about Israel's international reputation, if of course you don't place it alongside countries like Russia http://dr-world.blogspot.com/2011/09/israel-stays-on-in-20th-century-not.html).
In the meantime arguably the most dangerous nuclear country Pakistan - most dangerous not only of Israel, but for the whole of the world -remains among the friends and allies of America - America with whose tacit agreement, if not direct protection, Pakistan made this very nuclear weapon. Never ever did I hear that Israel tried at least to put some pressure on America in relation to its friendship with Pakistan. O no! Israel itself weaponizes Pakistan with great success. Don't tell me after that about Israeli and American governments caring about their peoples... Give me a break! Hah... the world and America's 'spoiled teenager' Israel would be by orders of magnitude more safe if America swapped around Pakistan and Iran, making the latter its strategic friend, and turning Pakistan into the 'bogeyman'. At least Iran has a sound control over all its territory, over its weapon arsenal and don't sponsor directly terrorists (which is such a characteristic feature of Pakistani governmental agencies). Iran in terms of its soundness and safety in comparison with America's beloved Pakistan can be seen as Belgium in comparison with Serbia in the times of Milosevic's rule.