Bashar Al-Assad is what he is today thanks to democrats- specifically Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi.
George W. Bush has never been a fan of Assad. Bush had been trying to isolate Syria since 2005, believing it was up to nefarious activities but democrats knew better. In 2007 then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi undercut Bush’s foreign policy by paying a visit to Assad.
The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, delivered a powerful challenge to the Bush administration’s stewardship of American interests in the Middle East by breaking with its policy of isolating Syria and holding talks in Damascus with President Bashar Assad.
Yesterday’s visit defied warnings from President George Bush about sending “mixed signals” to Damascus, and was widely seen as a sign of growing determination from a Democratic Congress to have a hand in setting US foreign policy.
“We come in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace,” Ms Pelosi told reporters before travelling on from Syria to Saudi Arabia.
Pelosi then fabricated a fantasy about her trip:
However, her foray into diplomacy stumbled when she told reporters that she was relaying a message of peace to President Assad from the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. “[Our] meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks,” she told reporters after her talks with Mr Assad.
Hours later, Mr Olmert’s office issued a statement on its website saying that Israel remained unconvinced that Mr Assad was interested in a peace process. “The prime minister emphasised that although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the axis of evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East,” the statement said, adding that Israeli policy remained unchanged.
The Pelosi effort was obviously one designed to damage George W. Bush:
Ms Pelosi’s status as the third most senior elected figure in Washington makes her visit to Damascus the most serious challenge to the Bush administration strategy of isolation in four years.
Bush considered Syria to be a sponsor of terror, but democrats wanted to play nice with Syria
Democrats have argued that the United States should engage its top rivals in the Mideast — Iran and Syria — to make headway in easing crises in Iraq, Lebanon and the Israeli-Arab peace process. Last year, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended talks with the two countries.
Bush rejected the recommendations. But in February, the United States joined a gathering of regional diplomats in Baghdad that included Iran and Syria for talks on Iraq.
In 2007 Pelosi said “the road to Damascus is a road to peace.”
Kerry called Assad a “very generous man” and made every effort to hamstring Bush foreign policy in the Middle East with effusive praise for Assad:
Kerry thwarted efforts during the Bush administration to diplomatically isolate Syria after the administration’s own efforts to engage the regime ended in failure in 2003. Kerry served as the Obama administration’s envoy to Assad, leading a delegation to Syria just days after Obama’s inauguration. There he listened to Bashar Assad lecture him that Washington must “move away from a policy based on dictating decisions.”
Kerry agreed, condemning the previous U.S. president while on the soil of a dictator who had spent the previous years assisting in the killing of American troops in Iraq. “Unlike the Bush administration that believed you could simply tell people what to do and walk away and wait for them to do it, we believe you have to engage in a discussion,” Kerry said.
A year later Kerry was reiterating his praise for Assad’s tyranny. “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” Kerry said about the prominent state sponsor of terrorism and host of jihadist groups. “All of us have to work together in order to seize real opportunities.”
The Washington Post called Kerry a “prominent admirer” of Assad.
In 2011, whose current whereabouts are unknown, Hillary Clinton said that Assad was considered a “reformer.”[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOngyJf9U3E[/youtube]
She was roundly hammered for the statement and she tried to blunt the criticism but not even WaPo was buying it:
Throughout the Middle East uprisings, Clinton has had trouble calibrating her comments to the mood of the moment, such as when she pronounced the Mubarak regime to be “stable’ and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” Days later, Mubarak was gone.
We grant that we have no way of really knowing what lawmakers may have said privately to Clinton. But there is only a small universe of GOP senators and members of Congress who have recently traveled to Syria — 13 or so — and the word “many” would suggest at least half of those traveling.
The State Department’s refusal to identify these lawmakers is also suspicious, especially after Clinton backtracked and sought to pin the blame for the sentiments she expressed on others. So we are left with a public record that suggests Clinton was exaggerating or inventing the chorus of support on the GOP side.
In fact, Clinton’s remarks gave a highly misleading impression — that there was general consensus by experts on Syria in both parties that Assad was a reformer, even though Clinton’s own State Department reports label him otherwise.
Across the pond Clinton’s current absence has been noticed:
Fourthly, Clinton’s own track record on Syria has hardly been stellar. Before Syria descended into war, Clinton was a strong backer of engagement with Syria, greatly underestimating the nature of the Baathist regime, famously referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer” in April 2011. In addition, as Washington’s most senior foreign policy official, Clinton did little to stand up to Moscow’s aggressive support for the Syrians, eager to appease the Russians through the controversial “reset” strategy, which was her own brainchild. In addition, the Secretary of State was weak in the face of Iran, whose military and financial backing for the Assad regime has been vital to its survival.
Against this backdrop it’s not hard to see why Hillary Clinton isn’t at the forefront of the Syria debate. Her own handling of the Syria crisis was a spectacular failure, as has been President Obama’s. The last thing she needs in the lead-up to her inevitable White House run is a reminder to Americans of her poor track record as Secretary of State, from the Syrian debacle to the farcical Russian reset. Syria is a liability for Clinton in 2016, and with good reason she is nervous about what happens next.
Barack Obama began courting Assad even before becoming President:
As a matter of fact, Obama didn’t even wait until he was sworn in as president to begin that process. On 12 November 2008, just a week after he had won the election, a delegation representing President-elect Obama , met with Syrian officials at a meeting in Beirut that was very hush-hush. I wasn’t much reported in the Western media or mentioned by the Syrian press, but it was covered by Al-Ahram Weekly:
A US delegation affiliated with President-elect Barack Obama visited Syria on 12 November and met with two figures close to the Syrian government. The US delegation, comprising intellectuals, academics, and politicians from several US states, aimed to find out more about the impact of Obama’s election on the region, explore Arab reactions, and examine the future of US relations with the Syrian government.
The meeting took place at the Arab Institute for International and Diplomatic Sciences in Beirut. Syrian media made no mention of the visit. The delegation is on a regional tour of six Middle East countries, including Lebanon and Jordan to gather information about Arab reaction to Obama’s election and the prospects of peace and dialogue in the region. The US consul in Damascus briefed the delegation on Syrian reaction to US policies.
The Syrians told the US delegation that Damascus is interested in defusing tensions in the regions, is earnestly pursuing talks with Israel, and wants the Americans to sponsor and participate in these talks. Damascus holds no grudges towards the US administration and believes that the best way to sort out problems is through dialogue.
Third, the Syrians are looking for yet another way to open up to the United States, and are laying the groundwork for what they hope will be a political rapprochement between the al Assad regime and the incoming administration led by President-elect Barack Obama. By privately demonstrating to Washington and Beirut that it is cooperating against significant militant groups in Lebanon, the Syrians are sending a deliberate message to the incoming U.S. administration that Syria is prepared and capable of dismantling militant organizations – to include Hezbollah – in exchange for normalization of relations and support in the Syrian-Israeli negotiations. The Syrians have also been exhibiting their cooperation in clamping down on insurgent traffic into Iraq toward this.
Obama, as always, was interested in one thing only- his legacy.
All of the above engaged in policies that were meant to undermine the Presidency of George Bush. The bitter irony is that Bush was right and they were all wrong. And here’s one more bit of irony that really ought to be shoved into the appropriate anatomic sites on the appropriate democrats:
Also in 2005, a ferocious battle erupted in the U.S. Senate over the confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. A key point of contention: his congressional testimony from late 2003 claiming Damascus had “one of the most advanced Arab state chemical weapons capabilities,” and that it might have a covert interest in developing a nuclear bomb. The CIA reportedly went berserk over what it considered Mr. Bolton’s undue alarmism, which would later help sink his nomination in the Senate.
Contrast today’s blathering from the above democrats to their past words. They created the monster they now decry.
Keith Hennessey is right. George Bush is smarter than you. He sure as hell is smarter than Obama, Kerry, Pelosi and Clinton.