Across the Bay

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Talking to the US *Is* a Reward

So-called foreign policy gurus (like Richard Haass) and self-proclaimed experts, and, naturally, the fountain of all wisdom, the NYT editorial page, always like to pooh pooh the notion that the mere act of the US talking to rogue regimes like Syria is in itself a reward. The Bush administration has been repeatedly derided by these people for holding that view.

But then again, how do these people square that with regime rags, flacks and functionaries parading the "mere presence" of Pelosi in Syria as a "victory"?

Take for instance this particular regime flack (and never mind the rest of the blazingly idiotic article):

“What mattered to the Syrians was that she was in Damascus,” said political scientist Sami Moubayed of al-Kalamoun University. “Whether she came with a peace offer from Israel or a truce from Washington, they welcomed her as a guest of honor, with red carpets in the Syrian capital.”

Is there any clearer admission that the Bush administration's view is absolutely correct? Talking is a reward in itself, and moreover, the Syrian regime sees it that way.

I'm reminded of a post I had done in recent months on a fine piece by Lee Casey and David Rivkin. Their argument on diplomacy is right on, and trumps all the other inferior garbage that's cluttering the public discussion. Here's a key graph, a propos this issue:

Ironically, the Iraq Study Group, for all of its emphasis on diplomacy, vastly underestimates the forces that diplomatic discourse can unleash. Diplomacy is a serious exercise, capable of producing either good or bad consequences.

Jaw-jaw matters a great deal, especially when conducted by a great power like the U.S. This explains why most rogue regimes are eager to dance a diplomatic minuet with the U.S., whether they acknowledge it or not. They grasp that once the U.S. begins to talk to them, it implicitly legitimizes at least some of their positions and impedes the building of regional and global coalitions against them.

Pace the luminaries, the self-proclaimed experts, the NYT's fountain of wisdom, and just plain old simpletons who travel to Damascus, write an article regurgitating all the garbage they were fed there, and think they now understand what the hell they're talking about.

PS: A word to the wise, or to any other simpleton who would like to travel to Damascus to write an article. Just because the regime tells you something, it doesn't make it true. It's a simple basic tenet of journalism. So you are told about "hardly known recent diplomatic events," there's a reason why they're "hardly known." It's because they are mere regime propaganda, plain old lies, which you just participated in disseminating. Congrats!

Also, these simpletons ought to learn that for every one of these babies: "Syria is ready not only to make peace with Israel but also to distance itself from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran," there's one of these beauties, like this one by "caricature thug" Imad Moustapha: "The Syrian Iranian relation is not about Syria adopting positions proposed by Iran. It’s the other way around. Iran under the Shah cooperated with Israel. We have historical policies about Israel and the resistance that have not changed. It’s not like we were lured by Iran to support policies we had not supported before. We supported resistance before Hizballah existed. If God forbid Iran will change its position Syria will not."

And finally, a word to the simpleton who authored that particular moronic and repugnant article, it's the Lebanese who decide who their government is, not the Syrians. That's been enshrined in multiple UN Security Council resolutions (does UNR 1559 ring a bell?). Cause, you know, all y'all are big on multilateralism, international law, and working through the UN.