US passivity in the face of Syrian atrocities is hurting our global interests

The latest tragedy unfolding in Syria is all too familiar – and getting worse. The U.S. is watching as Syrian President Bashar Assad and his backers, Iran and Russia, commit war crimes against a long-besieged population that dares to continue to oppose him.

But behind the canvas of suffering, increasingly there is a deeper issue: a policy of U.S. passivity that is eating away at our global posture and interests.

The target this time is a besieged opposition enclave known as Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus. Assad once again seeks to maximize civilian suffering to compel a surrender. The U.S. is again portraying helplessness.

The cost in lives is horrifying enough. Nearly 400,000 people live in this enclave, according to U.N. figures, and they are dying by the score under merciless air attacks, deprived of aid supplies and medicines as Assad intentionally targets hospitals.