Whether ancient Damascus is opened, closed, or ruined forever, the victor of Syria’s maelstrom war will receive the power to enact great things. But the echoes of strife and suffering may be too much to bear. Those who win the prize must relish not the privileges of office or the resources of wealth, but the true wellspring that drives their fate: a people far too weary from a seemingly endless war. Let the victor recognize that the people make the leader, that the future depends on their welfare. All good leaders must draw back from petty conflict and the cost of death. True direction, true glory, comes from the stewardship of a troubled but dignified nation. Heal their wounds. Bring them to a better life. Find a brighter path than the one trampled by your predecessors.