The task of understanding Barack Obama’s stance on Syria and al Qaeda becomes yet more difficult. He says that defeating al Qaeda will be a top foreign policy priority. Yet Dennis Ross, an adviser to his campaign, said just a few days ago that he would like to see the opening of diplomatic talks with Syria, a conviction shared by Obama’s other foreign policy advisers, in order to “probe and test” Syria’s intentions.
Those intentions have been probed and tested for decades, and every time we discover that Syria intends to continue supporting terrorists. Our diplomatic consternation never seems to make a difference. What might actually affect Syria’s atrocious behavior is if the regime was forced to pay a price for it — such as by having its sovereignty violated and the terrorists it harbors killed by U.S. commandos.
Now we get to the truly puzzling part: Obama says that the United States should strike at al Qaeda in Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government. So, he favors attacking al Qaeda in Pakistan, but presumably not in Syria, even though al Qaeda thrives in Syria not because of lawlessness (as in Pakistan) but because the group enjoys the hospitality of the Syrian government. Maybe if the Pakistani government began openly collaborating with al Qaeda, Obama would withdraw his support for military strikes.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Noah Pollak raises a good point about Obama's foreign policy. Several of Obama's advisers, including Nancy Pelosi, have indicated that a Democratic foreign policy would include engaging in more conversations with Syria. In light of the story that we have gained a lot of intelligence about how Syria has been supporting Al Qaeda attacks from their territory into Iraq and our attack five miles into Syria to get one Al Qaeda's leaders, what indication is there that Syria is ready to give up its support of terrorism?