Is an intervention in Syria morally justified?

"The ‘responsibility to protect,’ unanimously adopted at the U.N. in 2005, stipulates that when states fail to protect their own citizens from mass atrocities, other states have an affirmative responsibility to act. Only a gross cynic—say, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov—could argue that Assad has not triggered this international obligation. An intervention would be morally justified, just as it was in Libya. … But this is not a classroom; and calls for action have to clear both a prudential hurdle and a practical one."

—James Traub, “Intervention in Syria is Morally Justified—and Completely Impractical.

This is article is part of A TNR Symposium on Syria. Visit for more coverage.

Presenting a TNR Symposium: What should the United States do about Syria?

"It has been nearly a year since Syrians took to the streets en masse to protest the rule of Bashar al-Assad. In that time, government forces have responded brutally killing some 6,000 people, but the response by the international community has been relatively muted."

Today, Dan Drezner argues for arming the opposition, Soner Cagaptay argues for organizing a military force from Muslim countries, and Larry Diamond suggests we should engage diplomatically with Assad to oust him.

Visit in coming days for contributions from Anne-Marie Slaughter, James Traub, Walter Laqueur, and others.