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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

12.05.2006

Talk to the Syrians and Iranians? Ok, Let's Write Messages on Some Cruise Missiles

Stupid is as stupid achieves consensus to do:

In recent days, Mr. Baker, arguing the importance of talking to people we dislike, cites as an example his own shuttle diplomacy effort while serving as secretary of state in 1991, when he succeeded in cajoling Assad into participating in the Madrid conference on Middle East peace. He said that, even though his first 15 visits to Damascus did not succeed in persuading Assad to participate, the 16th try was a charm: The Syrian strongman showed up in Madrid after all. But what exactly did all of Mr. Baker's hard work achieve? Less than two years later, after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat embarked on the Oslo "peace process" at the White House with President Clinton looking on, Syria embarked on a campaign to sabotage any possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement by supporting terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. During the 1990s, Rabin and subsequent Israeli leaders tried to negotiate with Assad an agreement in which Israel would return the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in a defensive war, to Syria in exchange of a peace settlement. But Assad blocked any real progress by refusing to negotiate seriously over security arrangements with Israel. In May 2000, Israel unilaterally withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon, whereupon Syria responded by aiding the Hezbollah buildup on Israel's northern border that led to war on July 12, 2006, after Hezbollah crossed the border and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

As all of its recent predecessors did with Hafez Assad, who died in June 2000 , the Bush administration has also repeatedly tried and failed to persuade his son and successor strongman, President Bashar Assad, to be more cooperative. David Schenker, who served as the Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinian affairs adviser in the office of the Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2006, notes that Washington sent at least five high-level delegations to Syria from 2001 until the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005 in an effort "to cajole Bashar Assad to change his unhelpful behavior." The delegations dealt with issues such as Syria's efforts to destabilize Iraq; its continued interference in Lebanon; and its support for Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups. All of these good-faith efforts failed. Perhaps the best known was Secretary of State Colin Powell's May 2003 visit to Damascus -- one month after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and at the height of American power in the Bush era. Assad agreed to Powell's demand that he stop subverting Iraq, but once Powell left, the Syrian dictator continued business as usual. If this is the way he behaved toward an American secretary of state at that time, how can we seriously believe things will change for the better now, given all of the problems the U.S. military is facing in Iraq; the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan; and the success of Hezbollah and its allies in bringing Lebanon to the verge of catastrophe.

If anything, good-faith U.S. efforts to reach out to the Islamic Republic of Iran dating back to the Carter Administration have been an even more abysmal failure. In the wake of the February 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a U.S. ally, the Carter Administration tried to reach out to establish a dialogue with the new Iranian government. So, on Nov. 1, 1979, National Security Adviser Brzezinski met in Algiers with Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, a relatively powerless Iranian "moderate." In response, student radicals seized the American Embassy in Tehran, beginning the hostage crisis that continued until the day that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated president. The students received backing from the Ayatollah Khomeini, who had little use for Bazargan and was intent on humiliating the "Great Satan." President Reagan -- a political giant whose successes included ending the Cold War -- fared little better in dealing with the Iranians, as evidence by the failed effort to sell arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages captured by Iran's Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon.


Talks are merely a way to delay attacks until after Tehran has nukes. Nothing more.

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