Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Even after several hundred thousand dead and many more refugees and many more living in fear and poverty, Assad remains a man that the Washington establishment can work with.

Behold the smart unofficial diplomacy:

Early this year, a former top White House official secretly went to Damascus and met with leaders of the Syrian regime. The visit is part of a broader effort by the Syrian government to reach out to Washington’s power brokers and gain influence.

The former official, Steven Simon, served as the National Security Council senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs from 2011 to 2012. He has not publicly disclosed his trip, but two senior Obama administration officials said he was not acting as a back channel between the two governments. He traveled there as a private citizen and was representing only himself. The officials said he met with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
This tendency of the establishment to want to make a deal with the strong man is why I am firmly in the "destroy Assad first" camp and not "destroy ISIL in Syria first" camp. If we destroy Assad first, few will want to halt the effort short of destroying ISIL, too.

But if we destroy ISIL first? Well, then lots of people--including weakened rebels on the ground in Syria--will think letting Assad's regime survive is better than more suffering.

And so a regime that has plenty of blood on its hands--including the blood of our soldiers during the Iraq War, don't forget--will survive as our new partner.

With the current vector, our troops will be fighting for Assad by the end of next year.

After reaching out to Iran and Cuba, why not Syria, too, eh? Ah, nuance!