Powered by WebAds

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What was missing from Clinton's Syria announcement

As I'm sure most of you have already heard, Secretary of State Clinton finally said that it's time for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to 'get out of the way.' It's been three days since she said that, and yet it seemed so anti-climactic that there wasn't much I wanted to say about it.

Barry Rubin has dissected Clinton's speech calling for Assad to 'get out of the way' (has Obama even said it himself yet?) and has found what irritated me about it. There are a lot of things missing.
Yet there’s more and something incredibly significant that nobody will notice. No U.S. national interests are cited for this decision. That is incredible yet everyone will take it for granted. No mention of:

The Syrian regime’s support for terrorism against Americans in Iraq, against Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon; and its reconquest of Lebanon; and its attempts to develop nuclear weapons; and its subversion of Arab-Israeli peacemaking efforts; and its repression before the demonstrations began.

Only humanitarian considerations are mentioned. Now, there’s nothing wrong with humanitarian factors when taken into account as part of a national interests’ policy. Yet consider what the Obama Administration’s kind of thinking means in real terms.

The day before the demonstrations began, and the Syrian regime was killing American soldiers and civilian employees in Iraq, the Obama Administration had no problems with Syria. The Obama Administration wants the dictator gone because he has been inefficient in getting rid of the demonstrators.

After all, if repression had won and thousands were killed and tortured but quiet returned, that would be okay. If President Bashar al-Assad had shut people up with minor reforms that, too, would be okay. And if the regime was killing its own people but most other states accepted that action then that would also be okay.

This is precisely what the Obama Administration is signaling. You can trample U.S. interests and kill Americans but if your people rebel, you can’t repress or buy them off, and everyone else is horrified then the American government will act.

That’s not an exaggeration: that’s the foreign policy philosophy that is dominating U.S. national strategy. Thus, the U.S. government supported revolution in Egypt (without regard to national interests) and Libya (everyone else wanted the dictator, Muammar Qadhafi, gone), but not in Iran (successful repression) or in the Gaza Strip (international acceptance, no revolt).
So Bashar al-Assad has to go because... he couldn't kill enough people quietly enough to stay. What a sick worldview. What a craven foreign policy.

Read the whole thing.

Labels: , , , ,


At 1:38 AM, Blogger Y.K. said...

Oh, it's worse than that. Rubin missed a small note that Robert Fisk (of all people) caught: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-its-his-fastdisappearing-billions-that-will-worry-assad-not-words-from-washington-2340268.html

"Bashar will also have noticed a weird mantra adopted by the Great Roarer of Washington. Repeatedly, Assad was told by Obama to "step aside" – never "step down" – and to "get out of the way", whatever that means. Intriguingly, Madame Clinton used the phrase "step down" yesterday afternoon – and then immediately corrected herself to "step aside".

The Great and the Good don't use these phrases by chance. The implication still seems to be that "step aside" might allow Bashar to stay in Syria but let others take over, rather go on the run with a war crimes tribunal hanging over his head. Which is what, I suspect, yesterday's roaring was all about."

Gah. Obama and his admin are disgusting.


Post a Comment

<< Home