Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put the brakes on any momentum for U.S. military intervention in Syria, saying on Wednesday that the U.S. military should not be the leading instrument by which to influence Syria.
“I think Syria is probably the most complex issue…of all,” Dempsey said, speaking to the National Press Club.
“It’s in many ways a crucible for all of the other factors and influences related to the Arab spring, the conflict among different sects among Islam, ethnic issues, major power interventions, non-state actors — honestly there’s a catalogue of complexity that we could share on Syria,” he said.
And major powers outside of Syria are trying to predict what will happen “on the other side.”
In that context, Dempsey appeared to bluntly reject calls for increased military involvement in the conflict.
“We continue to plan for a number of contingencies. We’re prepared to provide options if those options are required,” he said, including working through NATO.
“But the military instrument of power, at this point, is not the prominent instrument of power that should be applied in Syria.”