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How high, Mr. Assad, do we have to jump?

How high, Mr. Assad, do we have to jump?

Now Bashar Assad is showing the price for him to declare his chemical weapons and talk about — just words — maybe, possibly, removing them to somewhere, somehow, some time in the future.

That price is guaranteeing his regime stays in power and the rebels are disarmed, Listing Demands, Assad Uses Crisis to His Advantage:

In exchange for relinquishing his chemical arsenal, Mr. Assad said Thursday, he will require that the United States stop arming the Syrian opposition — a demand that might seem wishful from the leader of a devastated country where civil war has left 100,000 dead, two million living as refugees and large swaths of territory beyond his control.

Mr. Assad outlined his demands on Thursday, telling a Russian TV interviewer that the arms-control proposal floated by his patron in Moscow would not be finalized until “we see the United States really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to attack and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists.”

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a blunt response to Mr. Assad’s comments after meeting Thursday with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, saying the standard procedures for identifying and securing the weapons were too slow in Syria’s case. “There is nothing standard about this process,” Mr. Kerry said. “The words of the Syrian regime, in our judgment, are simply not enough.”

Mr. Assad, sounding relaxed and confident, hinted in his interview that the Russian proposal — which requires Syria to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention — could become a lever for endless negotiations and delays, much as Saddam Hussein delayed arms control inspectors during the 1990s. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfill the obligations, and that’s it,” Mr. Assad said.

The state-owned Syrian newspaper Al Watan put it bluntly in a headline on Thursday: “Moscow and Damascus pull the rug out from under the feet of Obama.”


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I don’t feel completely ashamed of enjoying seeing petty tyrants stick it to the US because of their understanding of who Obama is. It is a necessary part of the collapse that is required for it to be even possible that Americans will wake up and be sufficiently upset to throw off the yoke that Obama and his ilk are fastening on us.

    Icepilot in reply to Rick. | September 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Concur. President Obama is like a kitten chasing a bright spot, unaware of the laser pointer held by Putin.

Phillep Harding | September 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

Syria is a sectarian war, and the “rebels” are also being armed by Saudi Arabia, not just the US.

The US is supposed to keep Assad in power in the face of this support? Without breaking loose from our dependence on Saudi Arabian oil?

    Pettifogger in reply to Phillep Harding. | September 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    We are no longer dependent on Saudi oil and need not be for the foreseeable future, unless Obama shuts down shale exploitation.

    That said, this is dismaying and an opportunity for Obama to show some backbone. He should tell Assad there can be no conditions and insist on compliance. What he will do, however, is acquiesce.

A fine Bill Whittle presentation on the dangers of forgetting history.

Well, and delusional thinking…

Nothing is more dangerous in foreign affairs than ambiguity. Unless it is ambiguity borne of delusions about who we are and who our adversaries are.

Seems clear to me that we need to bring the ‘smartest woman in the world’ out of retirement, eh?

He never did find Trig Palin’s afterbirth, but he stumbled upon an even greater discovery …

Andrew Sullivan:

Obama is the one who has played Putin.

I’m not happy we’re in the position and as much as I dislike Obama’s policies and his bungling of Syria, I take no joy in Putin’s manipulation of the events to bolster both his goal of Russian hegemony in the region and keeping Assad’s regime in power. That being said, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the U.S. arming the rebels given that they seem to be as bad or worse than Assad.

Prior to the second Bush administration, it seemed that our Middle East policy (sans Israel) was to support strongmen who could bring some sort of stability to the region rather than risk Marxist or Islamacist regimes taking power. The cost of this was that the United States was blamed for the actions of the regimes it supported even though the extremists likely could always find an excuse to hate the United States; it doesn’t help when their criticisms contained even a grain of truth because a grain is all a fanatic needs to believe he’s right about everything he believes.

After 9/11, Bush 43 to his credit tried to get out of this quagmire by removing the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan but rather than continue the previous policy of replacing them with strongmen, tried to give the people in those countries a chance to establish a more democratic and humane government. It was very difficult and costly to the US in blood and treasure and while both of those countries are better off than they were before, there’s no guarantee how successful it will be.

I’m worried that our Arab Spring policy seems to be not trying to promote more democratic and humane governments as we did under Bush (because the public does not have the patience for such a long-term project) but a mirror image of the pre-Bush policy where instead of supporting the strongmen, we are now supporting (albeit indirectly) the very extremists that the strongmen were supposed to stop. Yes, we’re trying to support the moderate factions among the rebels but history seems to show that barring some external force (like the US acting as a peacekeeper in the country), if the rebels success the militants will probably displace the moderates and they’ll be the ones calling the shots.

IMO unless we’re going to adopt a policy similar to the Bush administrations – which will require an enormous commitment that I don’t think the American people are willing to make, there is little good we can do in supporting one side against the other. The result is we’re going to be blamed for the atrocities committed by whichever side we’re seen as supporting and they will have no loyalty to us.

None of this is unexpected. The administration is run by clowns, so how can they be expected to be treated as negotiation partners, rather than as comedy foils?

“Never let a crisis go to waste” …

But the crisis is not in Syria, it is in our executive branch, which is taken over by a charlatan and his leftist army.

Candidate Obama said he would negotiate without pre-conditions, with Iran (and Syria?). He promised his understanding of Muslims and his superior intellect, and his winning smile, would fix everything.

In Syria he had one condition, the red line he set. But Obama’s condition had a condition. He had to announce the attack and get high praise, the kind of fawning adoration to which he has become accustomed. But America and the world failed him.

So now Obama is bogged down in a diplomatic quagmire, without firing a shot across the bow. He instead bowed deeply and flexibly to Putin/Assad.

To save a little face Obama now decided to publicly announce his war crime of arming the rebels. In his debate with McCain he bragged that he would breach Pakistan’s borders without their OK, something we were already doing no doubt, but as McCain noted, not something a president brags about to the world.

But narcissistic Obama must sound tough, while not being tough. He had to brag about bin Laden, and even leak details that exposed secrets and men, making them and their family targets. But he will sacrifice pawns for the King and his ego, as Benghazi victims’ families realize.

As Obama flounders, all those fishy phony scandals are still on the line. He needs a new crisis of which to take advantage. There’s not much left for him to blow up, and no huge hurricanes are heading this way. Good day for golf though.

“And that bust of Putin fills that empty space just beautifully. I love what you’ve done with the room!”

—Overheard in the White House

The world plays tackle while Obama plays touch.

The best foreign policy for the US now is short term: Obama & Company need to sit down and shut up for the next three and a half years. We will suffer political loss for our nonparticipation but they are predictable, as opposed to the potentially devastating losses resulting from active Obama foreign policy initiatives.

I mean this quite literally. Putin is no political genius – he’s a hack among hacks operating from a position of weakness, but he is finding it easy to defeat Obama at every turn. Inconceivably, given her horrendous record at State, Kerry is nonetheless a step down in ability from Hilary Clinton. Joe Biden, solely by virtue of saying exactly nothing about Syria or Russia, is emerging as the smart one in the White House, fer crissakes.

Obama & Company are simply not ready for prime time, not even close. We need to bench them and wait for the 2016 draft.

legacyrepublican | September 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Poor Obama, Syria is going to be the gift that just keeps on giving and giving. These sharks smell blood. There is going to be a feeding frenzy.

I just can’t wait until I turn on Rush and find a Shanklin parody with Obama singing “It is hard to be humble when you are perfect in so many ways.”

Assad is asking us to do something that is in our own best interests. So how am I supposed to be upset about this, except possibly because our brilliant leaders didn’t know this already? We were and are playing into Al-Qaeda’s hands in Syria. This is stupid.

“- Al-Qaida’s leader on Friday marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by calling on Muslims to strike inside the United States, with big attacks or small, using any opportunity they can to “bleed” America financially.
“We should bleed America economically by motivating it to continue its huge expenditure on its security as America’s weak point is its economy, which already has begun stumbling because of the military and security expenditure,” he said. “America is not a mythic power and the Americans, after all, are humans who can be defeated, felled and punished.” ”

“So there you have it, al-Qaeda’s strategy is the same as the strategy that caused the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia has faced Islamic insurgency ever since, in Chechnya , Beslan . And has a lot less resources to do so since the breakup of the USSR.”

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Valerie. | September 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    It is poor leadership indeed that bids Americans to agree with our enemies before our own leadership.

    America has myriad problems, but faces only one true crisis: a crisis of leadership at all levels.

      I have to give Putin credit for recognizing and making use of our crisis, galling as that may be. I think the dive for the agreement and the column in the New York Times are both signs of cold fear. To be brutally honest, I’d rather have Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood scared. Russia is a country that acts in its sometimes-brutal self-interest. Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are hell-bent on genocide.

      This mess in Syria is not as bad as it might appear. By now, Assad is probably aware that babysitting chemical weapons is more trouble than its worth. The locals among the rebels have gotten a good look at their Islamist fellow-traverlers. There’s a deal to be had, here, one that could let everyone legitimate back away from the cliff. Now, if we can all just step aside, and let Al-Qaeda get a good running start….

First, we have to stop playing the bully.

Back in 1935 the Iranians voted in the government they wanted. BP (British Petroleum) stealing from the Iranian oil fields as the Americans to get rid of that government. And, install the Shah.)

So our “problems” go back, now, a long time. WE ARE HATED OVER THERE! The CIA is an Executive Branch “kill squad.” We’ve brought all the harms onto ourselves, as we reached for bullying empire.

Assad is the head of the Syrian government. He is entitled to fight the saud’s (sunnis), who have been funding his downfall. The good news is that he didn’t fall down.

The bad news for us, is that he’s embraced Iran and Russia. And, they are rivals. Good enough where we’ve been LOSING in all our crazy post-9/11 moves. Done for the saud’s. Who keep having big eyeballs on Libya, Irak’s Basra oil fields. And, now Syria.

It seems we’re losing.

As if clowns like Kerry, McCain, Hillary, and Mz. Lindsey Graham are “winners” in any American sense I can think of.

Sure, “you didn’t know.”

But Snowded did come along.

And, as frosted your behind gets over this stuff, America has not been in the right for a very long time. Plus, the idiots that thought the saud’s would be the ruling Mideast “clowns” they are not. We’ve got domestic issues to solve as well. Given the “bubbles.” And, the cheating that’s gone on at big banks and Wall Street.

This is not going to be an overnight fix.

Per Snowden, our US Constitution has already been flushed down the toilet. And, it may take as long as a Century to clean up this mess.

But, you bet, around the world, people are being educated. Even if we prefer making believe nothing is wrong.

How many MANPADS will be used against Syria, as opposed to being held back for use not only against Israel, but against civilian infidel targets around the world.

Intelligent Countries keep their fingers off other countries civil wars unless they are willing to pick a side and actively engage while recognizing that this action alone will most likely lead to a rapid expansion of hostilities.

Maybe the administration should run out and buy a copy of “Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby” and read it several times. The administration is definitely stuck.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Could Assad maybe spare a few of his peeps to go & execute ( conventional not chemical ) some of the more annoying people out there.

After all if others from the other side of the globe are sending in people, arms & succour against him – why not the reverse. ?