6. Staying out of Syria
Early and often, the Pentagon's message to the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces was clear: Good luck. General Dempsey has repeated that the U.S. military is perfectly happy staying out of the morass in Iraq -- uh, we mean Syria. The fact is, the United States has been stretched from Afghanistan to Libya, and few in Washington or Europe have moved to create and enforce no-fly zones or arm rebels (inviting retaliatory attacks across on U.S. installations or allies). But when the fighting does stop, the United States will want to fill the security vacuum with friendly faces, somehow. The only certainty: The Syrian war looks to continue well into 2013.