Right Hooks

Kerry Flip-Flops on Syria's Assad

All of the sudden he can stay.

Nate Jackson · Dec. 16, 2015

Obama administration policy toward Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has come full circle. Once upon a time, Hillary Clinton called Assad a “reformer.” A year later, reports emerged that he was using chemical weapons on his own people, so Barack Obama set a “red line” calling for his removal should he do it again. Assad did it again. Naturally, Obama backed off his threat, though the “official” administration position was still Assad’s removal. Fast forward to 2015, and Secretary of State John Kerry is hunky dory with Assad staying put. “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” Kerry announced, though he also lamented “No one should be forced to choose between a dictator and being plagued by terrorists.” Not coincidentally, he said this while in the Russian capital after meeting President Vladimir Putin. In other words, Obama is desperate for Russian cooperation, and the price for that is Assad remaining in power. This isn’t to say regime change is the obvious solution; it’s not. Look what happened when Obama and Clinton exercised “smart power” in Libya — chaos and a jihadi state. But hey, if you like your foreign policy, you can keep your foreign policy.

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