April 27, 2011

Calling A Spade, A Spade

Sounds like our good friend, Peter Brookes, is a lot kinder than we are and willing to give even minimal credit, where none is due (see below).

"There was a chance that Washington's softly-softly approach could've persuaded Damascus to relax its embrace of Tehran," writes Pete below. Yeah, about as much of a chance as Iran's Mullahs becoming Buddhists.

And why in the world would Syria relax its embrace of Iran? In favor of whom, and in return for what? In favor of an unreliable, fickle America, led by a wobbly administration? If the lives of your children (and your own life) depended on making an enemy of, say, a Mother Teresa-like figure, or a well-armed, apocalyptic loony-toon leader, who still decapitates/stones people to death, who would you prefer as an enemy?!

Time to hold our leaders accountable, which means calling a spade, a spade. Just as Neville Chamberlain's "peace in our lifetime" blatherings (after signing the 1938 Munich Treaty with Hitler and Nazi Germany) were absurd, so is Washington's "softly-softly approach" in dealing with well-known barbaric regimes like Syria and Iran.

So yes, it's a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into, albeit with the help of an astoundingly ignorant administration that we put it place. And yes, it's going to take years to clean up this mess (if at all), but we need to move forward and not dwell on the past. But no, glossing over "naïve" and downright moronic mistakes, without naming them as such or understanding why they were moronic, at the time (i.e., without the benefit of hindsight), would be the biggest mistake of all.

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Very unbecoming for a nation that was once the greatest superpower on earth, don'tcha think?

New York Post  |  April 27, 2011

Get Serious On Syria, Bam
It's past time for a change

By Peter Brookes

The bloody crackdown in Syria is just the lat est sign that Team Obama's "engagement policy" toward the Middle East bad boy hasn't paid off.

As President Obama himself might say: It's time for a change.

Sure, there was a chance Washington's softly-softly approach could've persuaded Damascus to relax its embrace of Tehran (which has expanded its influence across the Middle East with Syria's help). Or maybe advanced the Middle East peace process -- perhaps bringing an end to hostilities between neighboring Syria and Israel.

Our diplomatic efforts might've reduced Syria's long-standing support for Hamas or Hezbollah (which has increasing influence in Lebanon -- and even in Latin America).

Obama's overtures could've gotten Basher, er, Bashar Assad to come clean on his undeclared nuke program (which is being supported by the North Koreans).

And, of course, our policy might've made the regime think twice before launching its all-out effort to crush local shoots of the Arab Spring, using the feared mukhabarat (secret police), special forces and tanks.

But our policy -- which many always saw as naive -- didn't produce any of those results.

OK, Team Obama tried since taking office -- testing Syria's intentions by extending some small carrots to Damascus.

Notably, in January (in a recess appointment), Obama sent back the first US ambassador since President George Bush recalled his envoy in 2005 after Syria was fingered in the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister.

The president also lifted some economic sanctions in 2009 despite Syria's continued presence on our State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

Plus, Washington sent some political high-rollers in Damascus' direction for cups of tea with Assad to improve relations, appealing to the regime's ego as a pivotal player in the region.

Actually, even now, the United States' official response to the growing death toll in Syria has been so far limited to a few fusillades of rhetorical flourishes and a reported diplomatic demarche or two to the Syrian ambassador.

So, what to do now?

First, after about six weeks of demonstrations and violence in Syria... more here


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