April 1, 2011

If Hillary Calls Assad a Reformer

  Assad & Ahmedinejad
Yet another interesting point of view on the U.S. administration’s policy towards the Arab revolution. This time the focus is on Syria (after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “a reformer”). Charles Krauthammer in his Friday column in the Washington Post:

Sometimes you cover for a repressive ally because you need it for U.S. national security. Hence our muted words about Bahrain. Hence our slow response on Egypt. But there are rare times when strategic interest and moral imperative coincide completely. Syria is one such — a monstrous police state whose regime consistently works to thwart U.S. interests in the region.
Yet here was the secretary of state covering for the Syrian dictator against his own opposition. And it doesn’t help that Clinton tried to walk it back two days later by saying she was simply quoting others. Rubbish. Of the myriad opinions of Assad, she chose to cite precisely one: reformer. That’s an endorsement, no matter how much she later pretends otherwise.
And it’s not just the words; it’s the policy behind it. This delicacy toward Assad is dismayingly reminiscent of President Obama’s response to the 2009 Iranian uprising during which he was scandalously reluctant to support the demonstrators, while repeatedly reaffirming the legitimacy of the brutal theocracy suppressing them.
No one is asking for a Libya-style rescue. Just simple truth-telling. If Kerry wants to make a fool of himself by continuing to insist that Assad is an agent of change, well, it’s a free country. But Clinton speaks for the nation.


  1. What's the consistency here with Obama? Presumably the Sec of State speaks for the Pres. He supports the Castro's, Hugo Chavez, Bashar al-Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, most African dictators including those of the Sudan, supported Gaddafi until a few weeks ago, has withdrawn support from South American democracies and praises South American dictators. In his own country he sends in union thugs to destroy property and bully people and sues governors of sovereign states. He's had two federal judicial rulings against him regarding his health care bill and his moratorium on Gulf oil drilling and he's ignored them both. His Justice Dept breaks the law, he directs them to investigate themselves, and they are found innocent. Yes, we have a president that identifies more with Lenin than Jefferson.

  2. There was nothing in Bashar al-Assad's speech that suggests any reforms, other than vague allusions and not even promises. In fact the whole speech was vacuous. It was more geared to present the scapegoat for the uprisings, and naturally Israel, cast for the role of the wicked conspirator was for Assad the ideal choice. To avoid any responsibility Assad blames Israel. Gaddafi's choice was al-Qaida. The choice is also determined by geopolitics. In spite of at least ten years of supporting terrorism, Gaddafi would like to persuade Europe that he is defending us from the ever present al-Qaida menace.

    The Syrians will not be duped by Assad's empty words either, even if Obama would prefer it to be so, in order to concentrate more on his election campaign. With this in mind he may have instructed Hilary to cool it a bit.

    In any case Syria, like Iran is a far more complicated problem. The Syrians won't ask the West for help, and it would be nice to believe that they won't need it.
    One thing seems to be increasingly evident, that despotism has expired. How can it possibly function smoothly in today's world where access to communication and information makes such façade leaders, flattered by pantomime applause, look absurd and obsolete, as if they belong to another age, which of course they do.