President Obama resolving his immediate Syrian dilemma: by means of Option Solving!

Two weeks ago President Obama and his team were saddled with deciding if and when to strike against Syria, so as to punish it for using chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children. They were debating what form of action to take and, since that time a new option has emerged regarding the placing of all Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. Since we can assume he and his team will enjoy using Option Solving and are now familiar with the technique, we can proceed toward devising the right initial question and related considerations.

The question I put together for them, with their appropriate considerations, evolved as follows: “What is President Obama’s best option against the Syrian regime for gassing its population, considering limited support from allies, an attack could backfire in unexpected ways, he has mini-mal US support, although action could clearly signal future conseq-uences” Other considerations were available, but I helped choose the key ones for the President’s team.

Now I introduced two framing, unlikely Yin and Yang “bookends” to help stimu-late at least five creative and plausible options. I have denoted the reasons why these two framing options are unlikely possibilities in their respective boxes. The two I produced for them were: “Stand down all operations,” at one end, while at the other end you see, “Full scale invasion.” Both of these are extreme and unlikely enough that they naturally induce fresh ideas.

Go to our Latest Example and you will find the six options I thought they could consider as real possibilities. I did include the option regarding the putting of chemical weapons under international supervision, which has emerged as a focal point over the past few days. See this one as: “International sequester of all chemical weapons to postpone a strike ”…option C. It would not be my preferred option, since it has taken the ball out of US hands. You can decide which option you would choose from the other five options.

I then advised him and his team to put in some emotional distancing overnight, and they’ve thrown themselves behind Option C. They built an action plan which kicked-off with Secretary John Kerry flying of the Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart. So next time we can take a look at their “Peeling the onion” exercise to decide their best option for putting Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Peeling the onion: President Obama dealing with his Syrian dilemma?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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