On the Syrian Strikes

New America Fellow Tara Maller appeared on Bloomberg to discuss the possible impending military strikes against Syria.

Maller explained why the United States is probably going to strike—there's the issue of credibility in the case of a violation of an international norm, but there's also the ongoing humanitarian issue, and the security of the region.

But she also spoke to two issues that haven't been getting as much media attention: Congressional consent and cybersecurity.

Over in Great Britain, David Cameron recalled Parliament to decide what the next step in Syria is. But in the United States, Congress is in recess, and Obama isn't bringing them back to class this week. Maller points out that he's likely talked to legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle, but she also notes that he's more concerned with building international support. This isn't just a departure from Congress's traditional (and, some would argue, legal) role in waging war. It's also a change from more recent history. Whether it's just to make sure that this isn't Iraq, or to legitimize an attack for which there won't be UN approval, or because this is just the way the world turns now, François Hollande's opinion matters more here than does, say, Rand Paul's.

But that military contributions are being secured from various international partners isn't the only change in 21st century warfare. The New York Times was hacked twice yesterday, and fingers are pointing at the Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hackers that supports the Assad regime. Maller points out that we should look for more cyberactivity in and out of Syria. Perhaps we should also consider that, in the 21st century, war isn't only waged on land, sea, and air.