Foreign Policy 101 for Secretaries of State

According to Secretary of State John Kerry,

That means that Bashar al-Assad will not be part of that transitional government. There is no way, not possible in the imagination, that the man who has lead the brutal response to his own people could regain legitimacy to govern.

That sounds good, especially the last part. But let’s not forget that Assad is still in power because a good chunk of the Syrian people do recognize his legitimacy and support him over the various rebel groups. That Assad is a murderous tyrant and a fool who missed his opportunity to bring a real measure of democracy to Syria doesn’t change that.

More importantly, this leaves Assad little option but to fight to the end. He almost certainly cannot remain in a Syria that has deposed him without facing execution. He almost certainly can’t return to England without facing a war crimes tribunal. Exile is a faint possibility–I’m not sure where he’d go other than possibly Russia or Iran (and who’d want to be an Arab exile in Russia or Iran?), but someone more versed in the Middle East than I might have other suggestions. But it looks to me like Kerry is intentionally backing Assad into a corner, cutting off all his options except to fight to the death.

Is that wise diplomacy? Is it strategic?

Granted, Assad has not left diplomats many options. And granted that it’s not always wrong to take an all or nothing approach. But the U.S. is insisting that Assad must go, that nothing less will be acceptable, while refusing to commit itself fully to supporting the rebels on the ground.

This is a shit or get off the pot moment, but all Kerry did was break wind.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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4 Responses to Foreign Policy 101 for Secretaries of State

  1. Murali says:

    Kerry has been a particularly bad secretary of state. First, with the bright lines etc which Obama promptly had to cross, now with this. It seems like he’s got his foot so far down his mouth its coming out of his ass. I can’t believe I ever thought he would be a better president than Bush.

  2. Matty says:

    With regards to the rebels, I’m trying now to track down a report I read that said a large number of rebel commanders on the ground had signed a statement rejecting the right of the Free Syrian Army leadership to give them orders or negotiate on their behalf. Am I remembering right?

  3. lancifer666 says:

    One wonders how much of what Kerry says is from the White House and how much is his own bloviating.

    I suspect that Kerry was handed the Secretary of State position because he was a Democratic party heavy weight as much as (or in spite of) any real talent for the job.

    James, If you recall, I had said that Syria would degrade into a civil conflict and that Assad would eventually go out Kadafi Style.

    I think that is still true and Kerry is hoping to make Assad realize that he has little future in Syria. Whether that is a good diplomatic move is another story.

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