If you listened carefully this past week, you could almost hear the sound of champagne glasses clinking together loudly in Damascus, as Syrian President Bashar Assad undoubtedly raised a toast to celebrate Washington's latest act of groveling before his autocratic government. Just days after Assad's regime had engaged in a war of words with the Jewish state, threatening
In a truly breathtaking display of weakness, the U.S. State Department indicated it was ramping up its "dialogue" with Assad and had agreed to send a high-level American diplomat – Undersecretary of State William Bums – to pay him a courtesy call in the Syrian capital. Incredibly, when asked about the matter last Friday at the daily State Department press briefing, spokesman Phillip J. Crowley told reporters that the Burns visit "reflects our growing interest in working constructively with
The Obama administration would like to "work constructively" with a government that is allied with
Indeed, it was just two weeks ago, on February 3, that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem made the following "constructive" comments to reporters: "Don't test the determination of
Another compelling sign of the sea-change in American policy came last month. On a visit to
To be sure, one could argue it is in
Attempts to woo
The fact is,
Only a firm stance, which directly links American gestures to verifiable changes in Syrian behavior, can possibly hope to elicit any modification to
Michael Freund served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999.
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