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Monday, February 15, 2016

Fred Hiatt, "Diplomacy as anesthetic in Syria": Obama's Odious Legacy; Hillary's Horrifying Complicity

One week ago, even Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen, who supported the unsigned nuclear deal with Iran, did not mince his words when lambasting Obama's inaction in Syria in a New York Times op-ed entitled "America’s Syrian Shame":

"Obama’s Syrian agonizing, his constant what-ifs and recurrent 'what then?' have also lead to the slaughter in Paris and San Bernardino. They have contributed to a potential unraveling of the core of the European Union as internal borders eliminated on a free continent are re-established as a response to an unrelenting refugee tide — to which the United States has responded by taking in around 2,500 Syrians since 2012, or about 0.06 percent of the total."

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Diplomacy as anesthetic in Syria," Fred Hiatt now joins Cohen in holding Obama accountable for this disaster. Noting US Secretary of State John Kerry's optimistic pronouncement at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that "This is the hinge point" for bringing peace to Syria, Hiatt writes:

"As Kerry was discussing the latest diplomatic development, Russian planes were bombing civilians in the city of Aleppo and cutting off its supply line, raising the possibility that the city will be encircled and 400,000 more people forced to flee or face possible starvation, a favorite tactic of Syrian ruler and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad.

. . . .

I admire Kerry’s doggedness. But diplomacy that perpetually, and falsely, holds out the prospect of imminent progress can end up providing a cover and an excuse for inaction. The options available to Obama from the start were risky, and maybe none would have helped; maybe he was right not to give the rebels missiles to shoot down the helicopters that were dropping barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods; maybe safe zones would not have spared Europe from its 'near-existential' crisis. But the mirage of negotiated peace has helped spare the administration — and Congress, and the nation — from even having to debate those possibilities seriously as one of the greatest humanitarian and strategic disasters of our time has unspooled."

Admire Kerry, who called Assad "my dear friend," for anything? Below, Kerry and Assad, together with their wives, dining in Damascus in 2009.

And what about Kerry's predecessor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton, who inexcusably came to the defense of  Assad in 2011:

"Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."

This inane declaration followed Hillary's presentation of a "reset button" to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009.

Recently asked if Obama's failure to enforce his "red line" involving the use of Assad's chemical weapons damaged American credibility, Hillary responded with a non-answer:

"I think as commander-in-chief, you have to be constantly evaluating the decisions you have to make."

David Brock, the head of a Hillary Clinton super PAC, not long ago declared that "cementing [Obama's] legacy is a very important part of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy." May the Lord have mercy on our souls.

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