Well, we called on Assad to reform, but Assad thought that too much reform too quickly would open the door to the jihadis (who showed up anyway).
“Why do you feel this way? Aren’t there armed groups and an opposition that are not extremists and represent other Syrians and their legitimate interests, too?” Al-Monitor asked.
"No, not anymore," he said. "You see, at the beginning, some welcomed the protests because they felt it might get the government to fix the problems, you know, like the corruption and other important issues and reforms, like an alarm bell to wake them up. But we soon saw this is not what it was about. They just wanted to take power at any cost; they will destroy Syria to do that. They soon showed their true faces, the religious extremism they were hiding. Anyone who took up arms against the state is wrong.”
US foreign policy was, and remains, wrong on Syria. There's no doubt about it. Assad should have reformed more and done so early, before the "Arab Spring" hit him. He didn't, but that's not cause for aiding those who seek to overthrow him via violence. The non-jihadi forces in Syria that seek Assad's violent ouster are no match for the IS types, who will continue to exist in large numbers for the near future (years) no matter how much they are driven underground by the Iraq military and others who stand against them with Assad.
Barack Obama and John McCain are both wrong, though McCain is much, much more so.
Vladimir Putin was, and remains, right (given the context of violent war).
As I wrote before, the US and Russia are natural allies in the global fight against the Islamic jihad.
We want peace, and it's not too late; but so long as people turn to violence, including in retribution and revenge, it makes no sense for the US to be going at Russia over Crimea, which is Russian every bit as much as California is part of the US. Remember the Mexican-American War? It took land from Mexico, including California. Well, the Russian Empire took Crimea with arguably more right than the US took lands that were part of the Mexican/Spanish Empires. The Russians beat the Ottoman Empire for it.
Regardless, the people of Crimea overwhelmingly wanted to return to Russia proper. They've done that. They were literally given away to Ukraine (which was at the time a part of the USSR: The Russian Empire) in 1956 by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev. They had been an autonomous part of Ukraine since 1991.
It was they're choice to make, not Barack Obama's, not NATO's, not the EU's, not the UN's, and not Kiev's (especially after the unconstitutional and violent coup there orchestrated by neocons and neolibs: unscrupulous, greedy interventionists).