The tragic fighting seen in Syria over the last two years or more and the chemical weapons attack of this August have stirred diplomatic services –particularly Western ones– into action in recent months. As is often the case in Europe, the question has been about the limits, particularly the ethical and moral limits, beyond which it becomes necessary to act and about appropriate types of action. In an effort to answer these questions, particularly where the Middle East is concerned, Jean-François Drevet begins by reminding us of the three major types of action resorted to by the USA in comparable contexts over the last 50 years (directing operations from behind the scene, threatening with the “big stick”, supporting “moderate” Islamist regimes) and the limits of those types of action. He stresses the particularly chaotic situation that has prevailed in the Middle East since the “Arab Springs” and the failure of the Islamist governments elected in the wake of those events. Lastly, he emphasizes the need for the European Union to show diplomatic coherence (to advance the humanitarian argument, but to do so without exception) and also to draw on its own experience to encourage regional integration that will, at the very least, make it possible to promote peaceful conflict-resolution.