In his Aug. 12 Outlook piece, “How. When. Whether. Stopping Syria’s war,” Kenneth M. Pollack overstated the case that there are only two ways to end a civil war, such as Syria’s: Help one side win or deploy “an outside force to suppress the warring groups and then build a stable political process.”
At least seven “ethnic” civil wars, such as Syria’s, were settled by negotiated agreement in the first six decades after World War II — including in South Africa, Mozambique and, most recently, in Liberia in 2003. In some of the cases, peacekeepers did provide a reassuring presence after the combatants reached a power-sharing agreement, but in none did an occupying force impose the peace, as Mr. Pollack suggested would be necessary in Syria.