To my mind, the situation in Syria has prompted an incredibly thoughtful debate within the political science community, one that undermines the idea that scholars have become irrevocably detached from policy. Ian Hurd and Charli Carpenter have written excellent pieces on the legality of chemical weapons and military intervention.  James Fearon contributed this superb piece on the strategic dilemmas involved in the US response.  And once again, The Onion has shown us all that it is the smartest game in town when it comes to foreign policy.Much of the conversation has concerned the question of interventions in civil conflicts, asking under what conditions interventions are successful and if those conditions apply in Syria. But like Jon Western and others, I’m thinking about Syria not as a case of intervention in civil conflict and more about it as a case of deterrence and compellence.

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