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A Welcome Flip-Flop from John Kerry

12:05 PM, May 11, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Less than a month ago, Senator John Kerry defended the Syrian regime, expressing optimism that it would reform on its own. Kerry said, as Josh Rogin reports at Foreign Policy:

"[M]y judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it," said Kerry, who has met with Assad six times over the past two years. 

Now, though, in an interview with Rogin, Kerry's beginning to backtrack:

"He obviously is not a reformer now," he said, while also defending his previous stance. "I've always said the top goal of Assad is to perpetuate his own regime."

When pressed by The Cable about his earlier, rosier view of Assad, Kerry denied he had expected the Syrian regime would come around.

"I said there was a chance he could be a reformer if certain things were done. I wasn't wrong about if those things were done. They weren't done," Kerry said.  "I didn't hold out hope. I said there were a series of things that if he engaged in them, there was a chance he would be able to produce a different paradigm. But he didn't."

"I said we have to put him to the test. I've always said it's a series of tests," Kerry said. "The chance was lost and that's the end of it." 

So Kerry was against the regime before he was for it. Either way, it's welcome news.

The New York Times reports, the situation in Syria is only getting worse:

Syrian armed forces intensified the campaign against a two-month uprising on Wednesday, shelling the country’s third-largest city with tanks and detaining hundreds more across the country. Activists said the number of those killed since demonstrations began reached 757, with more than 10,000 still in custody.

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