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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's come to this: 'We need Assad's permission to put troops in Syria'

I hope that every Republican will take this quote and use it for his or her campaign. Once upon a time, there were two superpowers in the World, the United States and the Soviet Union. In the late '80's and early '90's, the Soviet Union imploded, and there was one superpower left: The United States of America. And all was reasonably well.

In 2008, the American people elected a 'moderate' named Barack Hussein Obama, who proceeded to act as a Leftist, as some lone voices (including this one) predicted he would. Obama degraded America's military capabilities, denied its exceptionalism, and turned control of its foreign policy over to multilateral bodies which are dominated by dictatorships, many of which are controlled by radical Muslims.

And now, it has come to this:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent Monday meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In a press conference at the end of the meeting, Obama's Secretary of State told reporters that the United States needs permission from Bashar al-Assad in order to station US troops in Syria (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

But before we go to the article, I'd like to go to the videotape of the press conference. It's the first question (starting at 15:04 until 17:43)and the third question (starting at 22:55 until 25:03 - note that Clinton does not answer the question! from Josh Rogin, the author of the blog post below) after the opening statement.

Let's go to the videotape:

Clinton and Davotoglu spent the afternoon preparing for the upcoming inaugural meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group this weekend in Tunisia. Following the meeting, they both urged the international community to support the Arab League's recommendations for Syria following their Sunday meeting in Cairo, which included a request for a U.N.-Arab peacekeeping force in Syria. But Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the State Department accuses of murdering civilians, would have to agree first.

"We support the Arab League's decisions coming out of the meeting in Cairo to try to end the violence and move toward a transition. And we look forward to working closely with them in the lead-up to the meeting in Tunisia. There are a lot of challenges to be discussed as to how to put into effect all of their recommendations," Clinton said. "And certainly, the peacekeeping request is one that will take agreement and consensus. So we don't know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They've already, as of today, rejected that."

Clinton then explained the main mission in Syria is to persuade the Assad regime to change course and give up its hold on power voluntarily so that a process can begin to change the Syrian system of government.

"Ultimately, it's going to be important to convince the Assad regime that they are leading Syria into the outcome that we all deplore. We do not want to see a civil war in Syria," Clinton said. "No one wants to see a civil war in Syria. So we have to encourage the Assad regime, and those who support it, to understand that there's either a path toward peacemaking and democratic transition - which is what we are promoting - or there's a path that leads toward chaos and violence, which we deplore."

The Cable followed up and asked Clinton what U.S. assistance could be provided to help protect the Syrian people just in case Assad doesn't have a change of heart and allow foreign troops into Syria or give up his power voluntarily.

Clinton declined to answer that question, but Davutoglu said there were a number of contingency plans that he and the U.S. are working on, although he hoped they would never need to be put into effect.

"Of course, as decision makers, politicians, we have to think all the options and scenarios. Some scenarios could be not opted for, but unfortunately in Syria today, there is such a situation we are alarm[ed] and we are all worried about. But today, the agenda in our consultations and also in Tunisian meeting will be a political solution, diplomatic solution, and humanitarian access as early as possible," he said. "At this moment, we are talking on diplomatic and humanitarian steps to be taken, but for other scenarios we hope that those things will not be needed. But we need to think about contingencies as well."
Note at the end of Clinton's opening remarks, she says that she and Davutoglu meet "as colleagues as well as friends."

But it's stunning that the United States cannot and will not act without Assad's consent (even if - as I have discussed many times - there is not much to choose between Assad and his opponents). The world's superpower is trying not to be a superpower.

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?

There's a full transcript of the press conference here.

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At 12:23 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You must understand Assad is Hillary's former 'reformer' buddy.
Still it's nice to see Turkey dictating the U.S. foreign policy.
When will they completely abolish Congress?


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