原文标题：Why More Military Action in Syria Is (Still) a Bad Idea
中文摘要：加图研究所防务与外交政策部门高级研究员A. Trevor Thrall在《为何在叙利亚采取更多军事行动是个坏主意》一文中说，无论华盛顿方面对叙利亚混乱局面多么沮丧，也无论在看到美国最终打击阿萨德后如何满足，在叙利亚采取更多军事行动仍是个坏主意。最根本的是，美国将在一个穆斯林占多数的国家陷入另一场漫长的、昂贵的和危险的失败。若想了解叙利亚态势发展，只需看看阿富汗和伊拉克。事实上，叙利亚的局势甚至比阿富汗或伊拉克风险更大、诱惑力更小。美国将陷入一团糟，这涉及到的不只是一场内战，不仅仅是“伊斯兰国”和“基地”组织，还有俄罗斯和伊朗积极的军事努力。美国发起任何单边军事行动都代价昂贵，而且存在与俄罗斯和伊朗发生新冲突的风险。即使美国在军事上能全面控制叙利亚，这种胜利将是空洞的。在叙利亚叛乱组织中，美国仍将缺乏一个合适的政治伙伴，也没有办法确保它们能够统治这个国家。（编译：刘小云）
Buoyed by President Trump’s airstrike on the Assad regime, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have called on Trump to ramp up military action in Syria. Nor are they alone in calling for more aggressive action. From Hillary Clinton and Tom Friedman to a host of former Obama officials, a large bipartisan swath of the foreign policy community favors more assertive U.S. action in Syria.
But no matter how frustrated Washington is about the mess in Syria, and no matter how satisfying it may have been to see the U.S. finally land a blow against Assad, more military action in Syria is still a bad idea.
Most fundamentally, the U.S. would be signing up for yet another long, costly, and dangerous failure in a Muslim-majority nation. We only need to look at Afghanistan and Iraq to understand how things would go in Syria. In fact, the situation in Syria is even riskier and less inviting than Afghanistan or Iraq. The U.S. would be wading into a mess that involves not just a civil war, not just the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, but also the active military efforts of both Russia and Iran. A unilateral U.S. military campaign of any kind would be costly and run the risk of creating new conflicts with Russia and Iran.
Even if the U.S. were able to establish full military control over Syria, the victory would be a hollow one. The U.S. would still lack a suitable political partner among the Syrian rebel groups, and would have no way to ensure they were able to govern.
The track record from U.S. military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq is grim. Not only did the U.S. fail to enable stable and peaceful solutions there, but those invasions and occupations fueled more conflict and more terrorism, eventually helping give rise to the Islamic State and spreading trouble throughout the Middle East.
The case for intervention is weakened further since the U.S. has no real national security rationale for intervening in the Syrian civil war. As brutal as Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been, the security of the U.S. does not depend on whether he or one of his opponents governs Syria. And regardless of who eventually wins the civil war, a severely weakened Syria will be in no position to threaten the U.S.
Nor does the rapidly weakening Islamic State provide sufficient justification for a major increase in U.S. efforts in Syria. The U.S. coalition has already made significant advances on Islamic State’s position in Raqqa. It is only a matter of time before the last holdouts flee and Raqqa is liberated. At that point, the conventional battle against ISIS will end and the military will no longer be the right tool for hunting down individual terrorists.
As the U.S. has discovered in Afghanistan and Iraq, military forces eventually wind up becoming targets for terrorists. In short, increased military intervention cannot produce more security for the U.S., but it would certainly produce more American deaths.
Even if the only goal of military intervention were to create safe zones, it would be a bad idea.
Setting up safe zones will require lots of U.S. troops backed up by serious airpower. This still raises the risk of escalating tensions with the Russians, still puts American forces in harm’s way, and does nothing to resolve the Syrian civil war. The U.S. would simply end up presiding over a massive and deeply miserable refugee camp. Then, having taken responsibility for the Syrian people’s safety, the pressures on the U.S. to do more to end the civil war would mount.
Safe zones are just a long step down a slippery slope. A better idea to help the Syrian people would be to find permanent resettlement solutions for the millions of refugees currently stuck in Lebanon and Turkey, or struggling to find safe havens in Europe.
The U.S. has paid dearly for its mistakes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere over the past 15 years; it should not repeat them in Syria. President Barack Obama understood the trap Syria represented, and to his credit withstood a great deal of criticism over the years while sticking to his decision not to intervene. Trump has also said he does not intend to “go into Syria.” Let’s hope he can withstand all the praise for his recent actions and the calls for him to do more.