Hotspot Explainer: Syria

Welcome to this series on geopolitical hotspots! These primers provide a foundation for people who are lost amidst the 24 hours news cycle and want to know the conflict’s players, their motivations, and the factors behind their current political options.

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“This is why I hate foreign policy! It’s so complicated!”

My roommate and I just had a discussion, like we often do, about current affairs. This time it was about radical Islam and foreign policy. The above quote is his–usually I’m the one who’s more passionate about what’s going on abroad.

Of course it’s more complicated! But it’s also interesting. (Seriously, do we need to argue over Keystone XL? Just don’t build it!) And more importantly, it has a huge impact on people’s lives.

And it may not even be as complicated as it seems. You can take the view from Vox and feel hopelessly helpless or you can take the view from the former ambassador to Syria and at least understand some options.

But let’s not be distraught about the whole topic. Let’s talk about it, think about it. For those that don’t work in it, don’t worry if you come up with no answers. For those that do, what are we paying you for?