President Obama’s critics will not embrace the Syrian cease-fire now in effect, a move on which the United States and Russia cooperated. As far as the shoot-first crowd in Congress is concerned, the president is wrong on all counts foreign and domestic.
But not shooting is better than shooting, and while a cease-fire in that country does not include, for obvious reasons, the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, it is better than a state of chaos. Both the U.S. and Russia want to get the Syrian government and its opponents back to the negotiating table for peace talks.
The cease-fire also shouldn’t be viewed as an immediate cure-all to a civil war that has killed at least 250,000 people. In any such situation, there will be outbreaks of violence that seek to undermine it. But the parties should hold the line as much as they can, because the bloodshed must end. The lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent bystanders are in the balance, and members of Congress, all of them, should be pulling for success.
And while there remain suspicions about Russia’s role in airstrikes against civilians, the United Nations has endorsed the cease-fire, indicating the hopes of the world’s nations that peace will come soon enough and long enough to bring calm to this region. The alternative is the violent status quo. And that alternative is unthinkable.