Jul
12
2011

Shall we reconsider blocking Ambassador Robert Ford’s appointment?

I’m starting to think that the current Republican opposition to Ford’s formal appointment as ambassador to Syria, while valid in general – we’re actually not well-advised to play Albright-style kissy-face games with rogue states – may be counterproductive in this specific case.  Then again, the general principle doesn’t apply here, does it? After all,  Ambassador Ford is not exactly playing nice with the Assad regime; he’s instead telling them things that they don’t like to hear.  Like, for example, the truth:

…how ironic that the Syrian Government lets an anti-U.S. demonstration proceed freely while their security thugs beat down olive branch-carrying peaceful protesters elsewhere.The people in Hama have been demonstrating peacefully for weeks. Yes, there is a general strike, but what caused it? The government security measures that killed protesters in Hama. In addition, the government began arresting people at night and without any kind of judicial warrant. Assad had promised in his last speech that there would be no more arrests without judicial process. Families in Hama told me of repeated cases where this was not the reality.

Which is, of course, that the Syrian regime is comprised of a bunch of lying, murderous thugs.  Personally, I feel that if we’ve actually managed to luck out and have a loud-voiced hard-case guy on the scene just when we needed one then I don’t see why we should waste the opportunity.  I am all in favor of Ambassador Ford making more and more of a stink until the Syrian regime PNGs him – and then we replace him with somebody else who is just as full of righteous indignation.  Having the Senate Republican caucus signify that they’ll ease up on this one sounds like a good way to help that happen; after all, if we’re actually going to speak truth to vileness then I’m happy to get on-board with ‘engagement.’

Then again, I’ve always been a fan of the Condoleeza Rice school of diplomacy.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

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