So says a headline in Wednesday’s New York Times. And the article by Mark Landler elaborates the cosmic kvetch brought on by the Obama administration’s courting of Damascus. I’ve written about this a few times myself.
The courting of the Assad dictatorship was supposed to lure Syria away from its entanglement with the Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to consider the confirmation of the president’s nominee, Robert S. Ford, as emissary to the Syrians. My friend, John Kerry, loyally subbed for the putative ambassador. But there is no evidence that he got more than tea or mulberry juice, quite abundant in this season. Still, the State Department has been active.
Although not in the ordinary diplomatic routines. Mrs. Clinton, hip lady that she is, sent two youngish men—I called them silly Jewish boys—on a Twitter journey to the Syrian capital with representatives from Microsoft, Dell, Cisco and other hi-tech corporations to do some selling which would ensnare the country into the American economy and, thus, into American culture. Or something concrete like that. After all, Jared Cohen and Alec J. Ross had already euchred Google into a project making digital copies of 14,000 artifacts in Iraq’s National Museum, presumably of the items that were not filched in the days after the invasion or that were since returned.
Messrs. Ross and Cohen had a good time in Syria. “I am not kidding when I say I just had the greatest frappuccino ever at Kalamoun University north of Damascus,” as Cohen tweeted. Ross also reported about Cohen’s “creative diplomacy” in challenging a Syrian communications minister to a cake-eating contest.
Mrs. Clinton called this “21st century statecraft.” Martin Indyk, a man I have always distrusted, saw this venture of the two computer boys as a way to encourage Syria “to see the light at the end of the tunnel and engage their high-tech sector of young, middle class business people, which presumably will support peace with Israel and stronger relations with the U.S.” Just like in Egypt, I suppose, where such illuminati are very belligerent and the army a force for peace. After all, they don’t want to lose their men and materiel again.
As it happens, the day after, the Wall Street Journal ran a story with the headline “Iran Arms Syria With Radar...Blow to U.S. Strategy on Damascus,” Blow, indeed!
These transfers mean Iranian and Syrian arms are going to Hezbollah—in gross violation of Security Council resolution 1701 (but who gives a damn about that?)—weapons that are intended to be rained on Israel, not just in the north but further into the heartland of the country. This deepening of the perils to Israeli population centers is a result of Obama diplomacy, thoughtless and relentless.