Who’s our man in Damascus, Syria? Why it’s Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal Kerry has held nearly a half-dozen meetings with Syrian strongman Bashar Al-Assad. The Journal calls Kerry” a key supporter of Mr. Assad in Washington.”
“President Assad has been very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had,” the former Democratic presidential nominee is reported to have said at recent speech before Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Of course it is a bit obscure what kind of generosity Assad so far has offered Mr. Kerry. His security people kill dozens of protesters, does Iran’s bidding in the Middle East, arms the Hezbollah army in southern Lebanon, and gives Hamas sanctuary in Damascus.
Nevertheless Kerry is clearly part of the Obama wing that embraces the extraordinary claim (along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) that Assad may be a “reformer.” See Roger Simon’s superb analysis of Hillary’s ridiculous Assad claim on the Sunday talk shows.
But the Assad-as-a reformer view isn’t unanimous within the Obama administration. Further, apparently not all are thrilled with the Kerry-Assad assignations. Last month both the State Department and the French government intervened to prevent another meeting between the two in Damascus. As the Journal reports, “They were concerned the trip would signal Western weakness just weeks after the collapse of Lebanon’s government.”
So there still could be a slender trace of hope of foreign policy sanity within our government.