What's the worse that could happen in Syria, and should America intervene? This week's Economist looks hard at the deteriorating situation in the Levant.
Once the fighting's done, a complete state collapse, along the lines of Somalia in 1991, is possible.
Consequences would be horrific, the editorial states; millions of lives ruined, a fresh base for global jihad created, and shockwaves felt across Middle East.
The plight of Syrians is already dire enough. At least 70,000 lives have been lost, with a further 150,000 to 200,000 locked up by the regime.
Is it time for Obama to take action? Yes, the editorial continues. First "suffering on such a scale is unconcsionable".
Second, America is "likely to be sucked into Syria eventually" - as the region could derail all it's goals in the Middle East, such as containing terrorism and ensuring the supply of energy.
Take a look at the full argument here.