Friday, December 15, 2006
Basically, the attitude is, until the Syrians comply with all U.S. demands, we shouldn't talk to them. They know what they need to do, is the State Department and White House line.
We're lucky that other countries understand the realities of diplomacy. One of the things that helps keep me safe here in Washington is the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Cyprus takes part in the PSI. If memory serves, Cyprus is in sixth place in terms of the number of merchant ships registered and on the high seas. Their participation helps to reduce the risk of WMD being transported or a ship rigged to blow coming up the Chesapeake.
What would happen if the Cypriot ambassador walks into the White House and says, you have failed to enforce the UN resolutions calling for all foreign troops to leave our island and to end their occupation--resolutions you voted for--walks out to the press, says, we are withdrawing from the PSI and the U.S. "knows what it needs to do." Don't think it would go over that well at all.
We don't have to talk to the Syrians if we don't want to. Then put 100,000 extra troops into Iraq to secure the borders.
I don't think we look weak if we talk to Damascus--talk, get a sense of what's on the table. We can say the price is too high. We do look weak--and stupid--if we don't want to talk and then whine about how no one wants to alleviate our burdens.
Really, what can he offer the Syrians that they do not already have or are going to get? Golan is the only thing that Syria currently is unable to get by her own devices but the President cannot deliver Israel.
Same situation obtains with Iran but only more so.
I think the Presidents policy is quite clear -
Let Iraq burn and leave it to the next US president to extricate US troops out of Iraq.
Let Israel be - nothing can be done there
Create a Sunni Arab alliance against Iran.
Given his parameters and his previous policies to date this is the most cost-effective policy that he cn pursue.
I am not saying that I agree with it but he is the man that he is and we are where we are.
I think there are some things that can be put on the table. The US can stop trying to turn Lebanon into an anti-Syrian state and return to the pre-2005 status quo, for one. The US can try to get Turkey to ease up on water issues. Yes, you are right, no grand bargain is in the making because Golan is never coming back, but some trades might be feasible.
For your reader's enlightenment, I would like to offer up the following interview with Assad fils, which has just appeared in the Italian paper La Repubblica, and, which has been translated and, first appeared in English courtesy of Professor Joshua Landis's excellent online journal, Syriacomment.com. Without a doubt the best source for the politics, culture and history of the Levant on the internet in the English language. What the interview clearly shows is that Assad is quite willing to do 'a deal'
However, he is not willing to throw overboard, his alliance with Teheran, for les beaux yeux of Dadyushka Sam. And, he might not even do so, for the Golan. At best, he might be willing to modulate his current alliance with Persia, and re-balance himself vis`a-vis Teheran, by re-establishing relations with the Sunni Arab bloc in the region: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf States, as well as the US and the EU. However, read Assad's words for yourself in www.Syriacomment.com. Again, it is by far the very best source on the internet for information on Syria and the Levant.
What you've got to understand about the present resident of 1600 Penn. Avenue Washington DC is that everything he's ever had anything to do with the management of has been run into the ground. And that's because deep down, he just cares more for his pride than rectifying his screw-ups, because that requires admitting them to himself and taking corrective action.
I agree that US should not have gotten involved in Lebeanon. But that goes for Israel & Iraq as well. I also agree that Golan is lost to Syria.
That's why I think that there will be a war of liberation of occupied territories in the coming years. Israel has to be cut down to size.
Syria, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Iran are not enemies of the United States. They are enemies of the strategies that US has pursued.
US President is not unique in not taking corrective action - to my knowledge, no historical figure who has started an unsuccessful war has ended it by withdrawing or stopping the war. The war initiators have too much of their selves invested too admit mistakes.
Bravo on the concluding sentiment.