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October 31, 2008

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"They don't negotiate with evil, dontcha know."

Coyness is nice. But coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you'd like to.

Well done.

Wow. I was going to do a Smith's reference, but david kilmer pwns the thread.

Eric:

Since (if for no other reason than by comparison ;) you're the FP maven hereabouts - can you give us the nickel version of just why it is that officially shit-listing Syria seems to have become and remained (even this late in the game) a staple of Bush-era Mideast policy?

Yes, Syria IS a Ba'athist dictatorship, and yes, they HAVE meddled unconscionably in Lebanon (and still do): but other than that, I have always thought that Syria, oddly, represents one of the few major chances for the US to pick up some sort of positive "points" in potentially developing what could be a semi-client state in the region.

And WHY, for f---'s sake, does even the remote prospect of a Syrian-Israel peace deal drive the neocons so far up the wall?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but ISTM that if there is a final peace deal with Israel (with the Golan demilitarized and turned into a free-trade zone), and some sort of agreeable modus vivendi worked out over Lebanon, Syria might be ripe to become as US-friendly a country as is likely in the region (a la Jordan) - as opposed to their present reluctant (I gather) alliance-of-convenience with Iran.

Other than reflexive neocolonialist "never trust an Arab" prejudice, what else might there be motivating a US policy of simply treating Syria like a pariah state (which no one else does): even when there is a potential positive gain* to be made?

I mean, *I* believe an Israeli-Syrian peace accord would be a HUGE positive - it's astounding that supposedly serious thinkers would believe otherwise.

A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian peace talks and refrain from actively engaging in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Yes, because peace between Israel and Syria and/or Israel and the Palestinians would be horrible. Seriously, WTF? What could possibly be bad about Israeli-Syrian peace talks? What is the upside to discouraging such things? I mean, the only thing I can think of are potential crass domestic political benefits for Republicans.

What I'm hearing from very trustworthy sources whom I've known for years is that the Syrians have completely withdrawn their forces from the border.

If this is true, and it seems a fairly predictable result of our actions, then I'm even more inclined to think the cross-border raid was a big fnck you to a potential Obama administration. There won't be an uptick in violence in Iraq from the open borders until sometime after the election, maybe not until Obama takes office, at which point Republicans can again blame Democrats for being weak on national security and/or say "see what happens when you elect a weak democrat president, our enemies take advantage of us."

Jay C: I think it has to do with Golan, and all the water that flows from said Heights.

Any deal between Israel and Syria would require Israel giving back significant portions of the Golan Heights - if not quite the entirety.

For the hard right Likudniks and assorted American neoconservatives, this is too high a price to pay. Instead, they would give: nothing. Just hold on to Golan and all that precious water and tell Syria to go f@#K itself.

Or, in the parlance of the day, spread the gifts of freedom and democracy via regime change to Syria. For the liberation of the Syrian people who they love, while the left defends the dictators in charge!

For some sad reason, the Bush administration has bought into this neocon view of Israel and its neighbors - that Israel should not have to give in on settlements in the West Bank or Golan, etc. So they actually work against an Israeli/Syrian detente!

It's not that Syria doesn't have a troublesome track record in the region (as you pointed out), or that we wouldn't want to compel them to behave more responsibly (a lesson we should learn as well), but if you recall, before this Bush administration, the US had decent relations with Syria.

In fact, Syria was in Papa Bush's coalition for the first Gulf War!

Bombs. Bombs will bring us together.
Think of my bombs whenever
Some sly terrorist comes along
Sneaking through town.
Don't mess around,
You gotta be strong.
Just Stop [stop], or I'm gonna bomb you
Stop [stop], or bombs will rain upon you
Look in my eyes and know I don't care about borders
(or treaties)

I will, I will, I will, I will
Be in your skies forever.
Bombs will bring us together.
Said it before and I'll say it again while others pretend
I'll bomb you now and I'll bomb you then
Just Stop [stop], or I'm gonna bomb you
Stop [stop], or bombs will rain upon you
Look in my eyes and let bombs keep us together. forever.

A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian peace talks.

An administration so pro-Israeli that it protects Israel from itself. What more could you ask for?

Now I'm going to have that darn song going through my head all day. Still, better than the "Tanz mit Laibach" that was -- that gives me a headache.

Sorry to nitpick, but, is "maladay" (4th para non-quoted text) a portmanteau that includes "Alackaday"?

Other than that, agree that all the murderous incompetencies of the Bush administration do make it seem like this latest idiocy is at least in part an attempt to cut Obama's feet out from under him (and if McCain manages to steal the election, gives him a new place to bomb -- really it's a win-win-win situation).

cleek - dude that is evil.

I thought that it had something to do with the Christian revivalist Greater Israel heralding the End Times. I personally suspect that the neo-con philosophy is leavened with a large amount of this, which is suppressed because it would really undercut their arguments.

discourage but not actively engage? Do I spot a wee inconsistency there?

The beligerent neocon view of foreign policy hasn't caught up with the economic realities that we've recently been forced to confront. We've been reduced to approaching other nations with our pockets inside out saying things like "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for an arsenal today."

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Whatnot


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