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John Kerry to Dine With Assad . . . Again?

12:55 PM, Feb 15, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
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Assad's not using planes to shoot the opposition like Qaddafi did, the Americans reasoned early on. This was followed by numerous other justifications for standing aside and letting first the peaceful protestors and then the unarmed opposition stand alone. We don''t know who the opposition is, they said. Israel has warned us against moving too quickly to topple Assad. The Syrian army is too powerful, and their air defenses are virtually impregnable. We'd be arming al Qaeda. It is better to let our two enemies, al Qaeda and Iran, shoot it out. The effort to back Assad is hurting Iran. The American people don't want another Middle East conflict. Getting the Russians on board is the only game in town. The conflict calls for a political solution since there is no military solution. Arming the opposition would only make things worse. We need to protect the Alawites and other minorities. The use of chemical weapons would change Obama's calculation. There's nothing we can do to craft a positive outcome.

Administration officials portrayed themselves as the adults in the room, cautious pragmatists who didn’t want to drag the United States into a potential quagmire that could not help but damage American interests. But Assad sees it like this: Obama’s defense and security advisers were all lying. They all wanted to arm the rebels—except the president. Obama, Assad realizes, is the only one who matters. And now to represent his foreign policy he’s chosen a man who knows us, a man who’s broken bread with us Damascus. John Kerry is a man we can do business with. 

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