Friday, April 30, 2010

U.S. Official Explains (Reluctantly?) Why U.S. is Engaging Syria; Egypt Rushes to Get in Good with Winning Iran-Led Side?

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
29 April '10

Listen how the administration's best expert on Syria tries to defend U.S. policy of being nice to the regime there. Then listen to the Egyptian foreign minister interpreting this policy as meaning Syria and its friend Iran are winning so Egypt better start thinking of jumping on the bandwagon.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is one of the smartest people in the administration’s foreign policy hierarchy. As former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, he understands what Syria’s regime is like and how Damascus along with Iran and Hizballah are trying to take over Lebanon.

What’s really fascinating is when smart people support administration policy in an honest way, since that shows just how thin the veneer is. My favorite was last September’s New York Times editorial touting the great foreign policy achievements of the administration. All it could up with were closing Guantanamo Bay (nope, not yet done seven months later) and getting the Russians to “think” about sanctions (same as above).

So in this vein, here’s Feltman explaining U.S. policy toward Syria in a congressional hearing. Let’s listen:

"While the United States is working with our international partners to mitigate Iran's influence in the region, Syria stands out for its facilitation of many of Iran's troubling policies. Syria's relationship with Iran seems primarily based on perceived political interests, rather than cultural ties or complementary economies.”

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