Seldom has an important new US foreign policy crashed in flames so quickly and so spectacularly, achieving the very opposite results to those intended.
It was only ten days ago that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unexpectedly announced that American military forces would remain in Syria after the defeat of Isis. Their agenda was nothing if not ambitious: it included the stabilisation of the country, getting rid of Bashar al-Assad, rolling back Iranian influence, preventing the resurgence of Isis and bringing an end to the seven-year Syrian war. Tillerson did not seem to care that this new departure was sure to offend a lot of powerful players in and around Syria and was quite contrary to past US pledges that it was only fighting in Syria to defeat Isis and had no other aims.
In effect, the US was reversing its old policy of trying to keep its distance from the Syrian quagmire and was blithely plunging into one of the messiest civil wars in history.