Amir Taheri assesses the situation in Syria in the New York Post, and concludes that recent diplomatic initiatives toward Syria have been a dismal failure:
“The reason for Powell’s failure lies in a fact that successive U.S. administrations have refused to acknowledge: There are cases when America’s problems with a regime are due not to certain aspects of the latter’s behavior but to its very nature. A scorpion’s sting is not a matter of behavior but an existential reality.” The Islamofascist regime in Damascus cannot be other than it is: a terrorist dictatorship.
“Unlike Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime, which could not get off its suicidal path, the Syrian Ba’athist setup can and will alter its behavior to escape possible U.S. military action. In the final analysis, however, a regime like that of Syria today cannot, even if its leaders wanted, deliver what Washington demands: i.e., an end to terrorism, peace with Israel, support for the democratization of Iraq and a strategic partnership with the United States.
“Twenty-four hours after Powell had humiliated himself by going to Damascus, the Syrians were unrolling the red carpet for Iran’s President Muhammad Khatami, who had rushed in to call for ‘a unified front to fight the American Imperialists.’
“The United States cannot get what it wants in the Middle East unless it allies itself with the region’s democratic forces against the despotic regimes in place. And that requires a complete rethinking of American strategy. The Middle East needs the same kind of historic change that transformed the Soviet Union and its satellites into at least potential friends of the United States, rather than strategic enemies.”
This is, of course, the visionary strategy that the Bush Administration appears to have adopted. The Arab world must be reformed; whether it can be reformed, time will tell.
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