The Obama administration has a vision for Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s departure. Even if it works, the president won’t be around to see the plan through.

An internal U.S. timeline for a best-case Syrian political transition, obtained by The Associated Press, sets a date of March 2017 for Assad to “relinquish” his position as president and for his “inner circle” to depart. That is two months after President Barack Obama leaves office and more than five years after Obama first called for Assad to leave.

Syria, according to the would-be American strategy, would hold votes for a new president and parliament in August 2017 – some 19 months from now. […]