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Syria Policy Fail
WaPo Slams Kerry's Syria Initiative: "Transparently Futile"

The Washington Post’s editorial board just savaged Secretary Kerry over his performance on Syria:

Throughout the last nine months, Mr. Kerry claimed that his transparently futile initiative was worthy because, as he put it in Moscow, “the alternative is . . . even more violence . . . the alternative is that Syria heads closer to an abyss, if not over the abyss, and into chaos.” Yet that is exactly what happened in the following nine months. Chemical weapons and barrel bombs were dropped on civilians, al-Qaeda strengthened its hold on parts of eastern Syria, and many thousands died — all while the United States eschewed steps to stop the carnage on the grounds that the Geneva 2 talks offered, as Mr. Kerry put it, “the best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people.”

In that assessment, Mr. Kerry was profoundly wrong. Now he says that “the international community must use this recess in the Geneva talks to determine how best . . . to find a political solution.” But more appeals to the world will not end Syria’s nightmare or the growing threat it poses to vital U.S. interests. That can be addressed only by a new U.S. policy, one that aims at directly weakening the Assad regime’s ability to wage war and that strengthens the moderate forces opposing it and al-Qaeda. It won’t happen in Geneva.

WaPo’s criticisms are spot-on. Kerry has put too much trust in Putin and too much faith in the doomed Geneva talks. The Russian President, for his part, has not given Kerry and the United States any reason to believe that he is trustworthy. Kerry took a leap of faith and has suffered a crippling fall because of it.

Future Presidents and Secretaries of State should take note: This is what happens when your foreign policy dies and goes to hell. Later, historians will rake your bones over the coals.

For now, the administration needs to put the illusions and the narcissistic moralizing behind it, and come up with a policy that reflects what is actually happening in Syria.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Thank you for pointing out that Kerry and Obama are narcissistic idiots. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for them to learn from their mistakes however, as I haven’t seen any evidence that they can.

    • free_agent

      Obama seems to have suffered the sad fate of being launched into the well-educated, liberal-leaning “professional” class, where people can safely assume that the people they are dealing with are at least somewhat well-meaning and will avoid violence at all costs. I doubt that he will learn enough to become more effective in the remaining three years of his term.

      I’m wondering how Pres. Hillary will do. On Bill’s watch, she got to see a lot of ugly foreign policy up close, and I don’t think Hillary overestimates how well-meaning humans are.

      • Jim__L

        Can you point to anything in Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State that gives you any hope that she would be effective in the way you imagine?

        “President Hillary” would be a continued disaster for American foreign policy.

        • free_agent

          There seems to have been fewer cock-ups during Hillary’s tenure as Sec of State than Kerry’s.

          But in any case, a foreign minister is constrained by his leader. Given the record of the Bill Clinton administration (a military action every 6 weeks on the average, I’ve read), I expect Hillary to be considerably more aggressive than Obama. Certainly Hillary won’t make the mistake of assuming that everybody is at heart well-intentioned, and so we only need to improve mutual understanding to prevent trouble (kumbaya…).

          • Jim__L

            Too bad “There seems to have been fewer cock-ups during Hillary’s tenure as Sec of State than Kerry’s” is so long, or you could put it on a campaign button.

            It will still make a great sound bite, though!

          • free_agent

            As a deep believer in the cock-up theory of history, I am very much swayed by the campaign slogan, “Probably won’t mess up as much as the other guy.”

  • LizardLizard

    Their attitude reminds me of the old Mad Magazine: “What, me worry?”

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