December 16, 2006

Kerry: Syria has "needs"

By Abu Kais

John Kerry thinks the Bush administration, the UN Security Council, France, most of Europe, Lebanon, and many "moderate" Arab countries fed up with the Assad regime, are blind to the importance of dialogue. He thinks they don't know what Syria's "needs" are.

The Massachusetts Democrat said his visit to Syria was "a fact-finding mission" to explore "what might or might not affect behavior with respect to Hezbollah, Lebanon, Israel and Iraq, where in each of those cases Syria is playing a role."

"Dialogue is an important thing. It's very hard to move the ball if you don't know firsthand what people's needs are, what their own perceptions are," Kerry said in an interview with The Associated Press and several other journalists in Cairo.

Kerry said he was "willing" to go to Iran for talks but had no current plans to do so.

Kerry also claimed he had "no illusions".

Kerry called the refusal to talk to Syria and Iran "a mistake. I think it's the kind of policy that's got us into trouble in the reason and it needs to change."

The former Democratic presidential candidate underlined that he was not engaging in negotiations with Damascus. "Talking to somebody is not rewarding their behavior. I have no illusions about our differences with these countries … and nothing in the discussion is based on trust," said. "But you cannot get to (action and verifiability) without setting up the modalities. So you have to engage in some dialogue."

"Now that the Democrats are in control of Congress, we have an even larger responsibility to set a direction … as a counterbalance to policies that have gotten us into trouble," he said.

So, the refusal to talk to Syria and Iran was a mistake that "got us into trouble."? Well, Kerry, how about you go back in time and vote against the war, if you're so concerned about policies that "get us into trouble". And while you're in the past, pray tell Syria not to treat Lebanese like slaves won in some kind of barter deal.

The problem with beltway politics is that politicians always assume that their opponents must not be doing the right thing, even if they can't figure out what exactly they're doing wrong. Democrats like Kerry, who can't figure out where to stand on the Iraq debate, end up pandering to anti-Bush sentiments because that's all they can do. Not that Bush didn't screw up— but how do you fix someone's mistakes by making more mistakes? How do you replace a grandiose idea with an illusion about a cooperative Assad regime?

Posted by Abu Kais at December 16, 2006 10:28 AM
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