Always remember these lines when you get angry about politics:
"The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished." Federalist 10, Madison, if it applies to all governments as to the dangers of faction which can be seen in the Syrian case, as an example of two level games, domestic and external.
As to the lesson of the second level game, between states, per Robert Putnam, Syria's weapons of mass destruction program, chemical weapons in its case, certainly Sarin gas mated on binary systems to SCUD missiles, and possibly VX, are an interesting practical appliaction of the Security Dilemma feeding back into the first level game of domestic politics.
In this case, if at the second level one might think the Security Dilemma makes one safer by having WMD, that is not necessarily the case as to how the perceptions of your own domestic level politics affect the second level game.
If one is perceived as too crazy (Iran and some other slightly more marginal cases), or unstable (Syria), the measures you take at the second level game in fact might end or radically alter the first level game, e,g being attacked by people scared of what happens if your WMD are lost or fall into scary hands.
All of this is an argument for Russia and China to see that their real interests in Syria at this point are best served by cooperating with the West on a Security Council authorized regime transition, with peacekeeping forces from the region, a timetable for elections, and exile for Assad by date certain.