I remember talking to some Syrian officials whilst I was in the Turkmen mountains. They were asking me why nobody was doing anything about the situation that was unfolding in their country. Why were the US not interfering, and preventing the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians? The only answer I could give was based on my limited knowledge of American foreign policy.
I told the Syrians that the US cared little for the people of Syria because the US had little to gain from the country. Unlike in Iraq, there were no oil fields and so the US would not risk their own men, and spend their own money, if they were going to get nothing but thanks in return.
I walked away from these meetings content with my answers, but wondering if perhaps I was being a little too simplistic. Surely making decisions in the White House was a more complex procedure than simply asking: “What can we gain?”