Condi Rice on Syria: “The United States doesn’t have an option of no action”

posted at 5:21 pm on June 4, 2013 by Allahpundit

The good news for hawks: If there’s any one member of the Bush administration you want making your case for you on Syria, it’s probably Condi. The bad news for hawks: You really don’t want any members of the Bush administration making your case for you on Syria. Rice, at least, gets a bit closer to filling in step two in the “underpants gnomes” plan for pacifying Syria:

Step one: U.S. intervention
Step two: ?????
Step three: Fighting declines and a peace settlement is reached

Intervene now to stop Assad’s momentum and then convince him to come to the bargaining table, when he’ll be willing to agree to a more equitable settlement for the rebels. Step two, essentially, is to put a hurt on him to the greatest extent possible, but it also presumably imagines leaving him in place as ruler of some post-treaty Shiite carve-out. How comfortable would the west be with that idea given the claims, which now include one by UN investigators, that he’s used chemical weapons on the enemy?

Her argument, like most calls for intervening in Syria, relies on three assumptions, none of which I’m sold on. First, that victory for Iran would be worse than victory for Sunni fanatics. Second, that a peace agreement between Assad and the rebels carving up Syria into Sunni and Alawite territories would hold. And third, that there remains a “small nucleus” of America-friendly rebels who, if empowered by the U.S. and placed in charge of the country afterward, might be able to maintain a cold peace between Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and secularists. (Rice is sufficiently uncertain whether that faction of rebels exists that she hedges with the phrase “to the degree that they’re left on the ground in Syria” to describe them.) The third assumption seems ludicrous to me. Jihadists, after all, are salivating over having Syria as a new base of operations in the heart of the region. Libya is swell and all, but it’s on another continent. Syria’s where the action is, and even if a U.S. puppet/client were installed, they’ll fight for it afterward. At which point, what? Deeper western intervention?

The second assumption also seems ludicrous, although I guess a cold peace could last for a few years if both sides were battered to the point where they needed time to lick their wounds. It’ll never last long-term. What you’re seeing here in Rice endorsing diplomacy, I think, is simply a realist looking to buy time by getting the two sides to drop their guns while the rest of the world figures out a more sustainable arrangement for the country. Most of foreign policy is simply muddling through. Stop the killing first and then we’ll all collectively muddle. Imagine the sort of split state, though, that would be produced by a peace conference even under the best of circumstances — namely, an Alawite region ruled by Assad and a Sunni region ostensibly “ruled” by American-friendly rebels but otherwise crawling with fundamentalists. We’ll have to police the Sunni region somehow to protect our client regime from jihadis. Would the UN or other Arab states be willing to send peacekeepers? If not, it sure doesn’t seem like that sort of thing can be done entirely by drone. And even if it could, imagine how popular the regime would be locally with U.S. death-bots in the sky firing at the fundie “heroes of the revolution” on the ground. Realistically, the only way a peace between Sunni and Shiite Syria holds is if the fanatics on both sides decide to make common cause against the west and/or Israel. Wouldn’t be the first time. Something to look forward to.

The first assumption is the most defensible because Iran is, after all, a budding nuclear power and the local Sunni Islamist states aren’t (yet). Iran’s also better organized, both regionally and internationally, to do damage to western interests. Again, this is Condi the realist in action: Weaken the enemy who poses the greatest threat now and then worry about the rising enemy later. That’s fine, but it echoes the “logic” of Iraq in knocking out Saddam only to see his rivals in Iran fill the vacuum across the border. Squash Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard in Syria now — which would be no easy task, and certainly nothing that could be accomplished simply through a no-fly zone — and then worry in 10-20 years about the Sunni Islamist crescent that’s spreading in Libya, Egypt, and eventually Syria. (Add Saudi Arabia and maybe Jordan to that list in time. Gulp.) The Middle East is, apparently, just one long game of whack-a-mole and Iran is the mole to be whacked at the moment. The only thing that ends the game in theory is (a) regional populations eventually learning that liberal-ish democracy is better than theocracy or (b) cataclysmic war. I know how Condi’s betting on that. I can guess how most other Americans are betting.

Exit question: Are there any prominent foreign-policy thinkers who were dovish on Iraq and who are now hawkish on Syria? There were lots of lefties who fit that bill on Libya, but they’ve quieted down significantly on Syria. It’s basically just McCain out there by his lonesome in Congress, right? Or am I overlooking someone?


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Scumhag – all in Syria are the enemies of the US.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Yes we do… Start producing enough oil at home and tell the Middle East to go where the sun don’t shine.

brewcrew67 on June 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Syria, if the US goes in, will be the US vs. Iran/Russia, the next world war.

Obama, Hagel, McCain and Brennan are on the side if the muzzie brotherhood, the thugs.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

SU, already.

Why do we want to aid ANY of the sides involved?

Yes, Assad is a murderous butcher, but then, I really don’t think Islamic rebels, who ripped the hearts out of Syrian soldiers AND EAT THEM, are much better.

To hell with ALL of them.

If the EU wants to step in to ‘save more poor rebels,’ let them do it alone. We’ve been down that route already with Libya and look what it got us: 4 dead Americans.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Yes it does.

NotCoach on June 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Obama’s ME policy is in shreds.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Syria, if the US goes in, will be the US vs. Iran/Russia, the next world war.

Obama, Hagel, McCain and Brennan are on the side if the muzzie brotherhood, the thugs.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Syria is the Spanish Civil War of our time. The proxies are the ones fighting now. Leave it to the McCains and we’ll be fighting Russia/Iran/North Korea…and, maybe, China…’tho, if the Chinese are smart, they will just focus on building their economy and wealth, through both of which come real power, while the rest of us borrow ourselves into World War III and oblivion.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

I know, let’s send Jimmy Carter to Syria to broker a deal!! It’s like watching the Dick Van Dyke show…all reruns!!

Deano1952 on June 4, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The Chinese will do just that, while Obama and his doggies enable them.

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:31 PM

The hell we don’t!!!!

Talon on June 4, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Like most Middle Eastern countries, Syria will never be a democracy. “Diplomacy” to all of them is code for “time to reload and sharpen swords.”

Marcola on June 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

I have always been a fan of Sec. Rice – always – but not on this issue.

Enough already – let the middle east burn if it wants to – I don’t care anymore.

The U.S. is such a mess right now – priorities.

With all due respect to a women who holds more knowledge in her pinky than I do in my entire body.

jake-the-goose on June 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Let’s try something radical. Send Jimmy Carter to Syria to broker a deal!

Deano1952 on June 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Condi Rice is a incompetent and dangerous idiot.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

“To hell with ALL of them.”

That about says it.

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Let’s try something radical. Send Jimmy Carter to Syria to broker a deal!

Deano1952 on June 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Jimmy Carter is the male version of Condi Rice.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Splitting up Syria sounds like a great idea! Never mind how that guarantees strife for decades to come, and how well that worked out in Vietnam and Korea.

The only action we have to take is to protect American interests and Israeli security. If either side in Syria attacks US forces, we strike and let ‘em have it good. Leave the Euros on their own, too, regarding Syria. The Brits and French just decided to help the ‘rebels’ (read: al Quaeda), so let them deal with the consequences.

Does anyone think that if open, armed rebellion started here, McCain and his type would be on the rebels’ side?

Liam on June 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Rice continues to bimbo-ize herself.

Pork-Chop on June 4, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Resist We Much on June 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If the US gets bogged down in Syria, we might as well hand the entire South China Sea area to China.

They may be quite happy with that turn of events.

Jabberwock on June 4, 2013 at 5:35 PM

LTC West on Syria.

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

LTC West on Syria.

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Anyone else having problems with HA?

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:39 PM

On October 11, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the following:

“I believe that there could be no greater legacy for America than to help to bring into being a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered too long (presumably because of the Israelis – the Jews), who have been humiliated too long (presumably because of the Israelis – the Jews), who have not reached their potential for too long (presumably because of the Israelis – the Jews), and who have so much to give to the international community and to all of us (And what would that be, you utterly disgusting and despicable creature, Condi Rice? Raising more children to be suicide bombers against Jews and other infidels?).”

No greater legacy?

Condi Rice is the creepiest woman on the planet. She even tops Nancy Pelosi.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

And third, that there remains a “small nucleus” of America-friendly rebels who, if empowered by the U.S. and placed in charge of the country afterward, might be able to maintain a cold peace between Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and secularists.

I’m not sure there’s any Syrians over here that are American friendly. Every Syrian I know argues over every minor issue in their lives and claim victimhood.

DanMan on June 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Condi Rice’s “foreign policy philosophy” is to see the whole world through the prism of her childhood through her adolescence in Jim Crow Birmingham. That’s about it. She is a classic case of arrested development. She sees muslims as the blacks of the world and hence is totally deaf, dumb and blind to islam.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Anyone else having problems with HA?

It’s locking up my Windows Explorer about once an hour now. Haven’t found the bug yet.

DanMan on June 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Here’s an idea.

Export marijuana by the ton – tens of thousands of tons.

Get the whole world stoned.

Then – export Taco Bell –

The world sit – eat – and then sleep.

jake-the-goose on June 4, 2013 at 5:47 PM

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

wow, our comments together kind of have some similarity or something

DanMan on June 4, 2013 at 5:48 PM

We absolutely have the option of ‘no action’. That’s what the US needs to do in Syria…NOTHING!

annoyinglittletwerp on June 4, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Condi Rice’s “foreign policy philosophy” is to see the whole world through the prism of her childhood through her adolescence in Jim Crow Birmingham. That’s about it. She is a classic case of arrested development. She sees muslims as the blacks of the world and hence is totally deaf, dumb and blind to islam.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

THIS^^^^

annoyinglittletwerp on June 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I’m not sure there’s any Syrians over here that are American friendly.

DanMan on June 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

I can’t picture it, either. Since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, Syrians have been raised to regard us as big an enemy. Multiple failed wars against Israel, and countless raids and smaller skirmishes, don’t exactly get America a friend-request on the average Syrian’s Facebook page.

Liam on June 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Obama stirred up the Hornets nest.

Damned fool.

portlandon on June 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I rather liked this suggestion: Put up a fence, build stadium seats and pass the popcorn…

worldtvlr on June 4, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Can’t believe people ever thought she had leadership skills. Another interventionist.

Panther on June 4, 2013 at 5:52 PM

LTC West on Syria.

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

In basically saying that draftees are scum, Allen West seems unaware that the last war we truly won, WWII, was fought mainly by draftees, and it was against two powerful nation states, Germany and Japan, not against a bunch of primitive goat molesters like in Afcrapistan where we haven’t won anything in over 10 years with our all career army.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Okay, she’s on the McCain interventionist bandwagon.

As I see it, the primary US interest – as it should be with any Muslim Arab nation-state – would be the protection of non-Muslim populations in the region and ensuring that the state concerned has no ability to interfere in Lebanon, Israel, or anywhere else outside its own borders.

Not much else matters.

JEM on June 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

OT – hypocrites unite

Schadenfreude on June 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Things are already optimal as far as our interests go. Our enemies are fighting each other. Our job is to make sure they do so as long as possible and that they kill as many of each other as they can.

I hate to think we would be stupid enough to step in and screw such a good thing up. Never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake. I consider Syria to be the only bit of Obama’s foreign policy that has been done correctly to this point.

Voluble on June 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Rice may be right, but the American public, this conservative included, have no stomach for intervention in Syria. Let the Israelis deal with them – hold their coats, so to speak – but no American troops, ships, or aircraft.

CatoRenasci on June 4, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Why would anyone listen to this blithering nitwit given her track record?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/30/international/middleeast/30diplo.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Sunday that the United States had failed to understand the depth of hostility among Palestinians toward their longtime leaders. The hostility led to an election victory by the militant group Hamas that has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East.

sharrukin on June 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM

“The United States doesn’t have an option of no action”

Of course it does. Unless Syria attacks Israel then stay the hell out.
If Syria does attack Israel – 24/7/365 bombing campaign to wipe out all of Syria, all of it.
NLS – Nothing Left Standing

redguy on June 4, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Instead of a largely secularist in charge of Libya, now there is the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and various other Shariah types competing for power with the place looking like something out of a Mad Max movie as well as the killing of Gaddafi leading directly to Benghazi. What a great McCain/Rubio/Rice and Obama (leading from behind) success story. Now on to repeat it in Syria!!! Allah willing … I mean … Forwards!!! Let’s do it for our dear friends the Saudis!!

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Anyone else having problems with HA?

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Yes.
It caused my pork roast to be overdone and my car’s air conditioner to stop working.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

It’s locking up my Windows Explorer about once an hour now. Haven’t found the bug yet.

DanMan on June 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Thx-it is jacking with mine.
Double posts, stating-”duplicate”
freezing, locking up.

bazil9 on June 4, 2013 at 6:09 PM

There are NO America-friendly rebels in the Middle East. There might be some folks who’ll dance with us if we give them something they want, which could be (A) intervention against their adversary, (B) weapons to defeat their adversary, (C) money to buy weapons to defeat their adversary, (D) political cover behind which they can work to defeat their adversaries, or all of the above.

Fear and respect. That’s about the best you’re going to do in that part of the world, if you’re the USA. Which is not bad.

If you go there looking for friends, you’re going to come home w/o your wallet, your head or both. It’s called looking for love in all the wrong places.

IndieDogg on June 4, 2013 at 6:09 PM

BUSH???

#fail

#nomorebushes

#goawaymeddlingneocons

#nomorebodybags

PappyD61 on June 4, 2013 at 6:10 PM

US interests in that region can be summarized, more or less in order, as:

a) Non-Muslim populations including Israel
b) Lebanese sovereignty

q) Other humanitarian issues within Syria

z) Syrian nation-building

JEM on June 4, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Of course it does. Unless Syria attacks Israel then stay the hell out.
If Syria does attack Israel – 24/7/365 bombing campaign to wipe out all of Syria, all of it.
NLS – Nothing Left Standing

redguy on June 4, 2013 at 6:01 PM

I don’t think you really mean that. You’d be killing a lot of Christians, including those who fled Iraq after we intervened there.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:13 PM

In basically saying that draftees are scum, Allen West seems unaware that the last war we truly won, WWII, was fought mainly by draftees, and it was against two powerful nation states, Germany and Japan, not against a bunch of primitive goat molesters like in Afcrapistan where we haven’t won anything in over 10 years with our all career army.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM

FDR ended voluntary enlistment December 5, 1942. Everyone after that date were drafted. After Pearl Harbor the Induction Centers had to remain open 24 hrs to process all the volunteers.

RickB on June 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

You know, I really don’t like the Ron Paul, isolationist wing of our party on 99% of things. And, yet, everytime I see someone like Rice say something like this, I come more and more to believe that the “warmonger” label is correct. It seems like Rice, McCain, Graham, and the lot of them just have some desire to keep the United States in a state of perpetual, unending war, like the war itself is the goal.

I want to see us have a strong national defense. I don’t want to see us gut our defense like the Democrats want us to do. But, at the same time, I have to agree that we’ve been the “world police” for far too long. It’s time to pull back and get our troops out of harm’s way anywhere that isn’t an immediate, direct threat to our own national security.

If the folks in the Middle East want to fight to the death, let them have at it.

Shump on June 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

A no fly zone is an act of war. No war with Syria!

Tasha on June 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM

One of my biggest embarrassments of my entire adult life is that back about 12 years ago I thought Condolezza Rice was brilliant and gutsy, and an asset to the USA and the world.

A pox on her and all like her.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM

It isn’t the quality of the volunteer military that is the problem.
It is the Politicians and the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon (with political aspirations) that have lost our recent wars.

I actually served with the last of the draftees…. Well, that isn’t the correct word. I served. They just got in the way.
8 out of 10 of them were useless or an outright detriment.

I thought you were smarter than that statement seems to indicate.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM

FDR ended voluntary enlistment December 5, 1942.

RickB on June 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Two days short of a full year after the Pearl Harbor attack – plenty of time for anyone to volunteer, except for those not yet old enough, and only a small minority of the volunteers were careerists.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:36 PM

I actually served with the last of the draftees…. Well, that isn’t the correct word. I served. They just got in the way.
8 out of 10 of them were useless or an outright detriment.

I thought you were smarter than that statement seems to indicate.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I served with the whole range: draftees, volunteers who vol-entered but likely would not have without a draft and careerist volunteers (some draftees also became careerists) and from what I saw, and speaking generally, the draftees were smarter than the lifers. I knew an E-5 and an E-6 who made those grades less than a year after being drafted.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM

An all careerist military (and those in the military are government employees) begins to resemble an all career government/all career politicians. This is NOT what the Founding Fathers wanted. And just look at the cluster fark of Afcrapistan.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Things are already optimal as far as our interests go. Our enemies are fighting each other. Our job is to make sure they do so as long as possible and that they kill as many of each other as they can.

I hate to think we would be stupid enough to step in and screw such a good thing up. Never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake. I consider Syria to be the only bit of Obama’s foreign policy that has been done correctly to this point.

Voluble on June 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM

AGREE!

III

dirtengineer on June 4, 2013 at 6:47 PM

I knew an E-5 and an E-6 who made those grades less than a year after being drafted.
VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Yeah, and I knew a thousand who couldn’t make it past PFC, and even that was giving them more credit than they deserved.

I’m not saying that you can’t get a few good people through a draft. I’m saying that it isn’t the volunteer soldiers that have lost the wars.

And your point of WWII is useless…. Our society is completely different now that the America hating socialists have been in charge of indoctrinating our youth for the last 40+ years.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM

There, I fully agree with you.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Yeah, and I knew a thousand who couldn’t make it past PFC, and even that was giving them more credit than they deserved.

I was drafted and I made it well past PFC, in fact, I skimped PFC.

And your point of WWII is useless…. Our society is completely different now that the America hating socialists have been in charge of indoctrinating our youth for the last 40+ years.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

And you think those in the army now didn’t get any of that? And then there is all the pro-Islam indoctrination they get in the army now and the longer they are in the more they get.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:55 PM

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Like I said, there were exceptions. You were one of the few. Kudos to you.

And what does getting rid of of the Volunteer army have to do with the P.C. Indoctrination that we both despise?

With the current Politicians and the PPP, and just draftees, you get the same damn thing, except with the added problem of the vast majority of the enlisted hating to be there in the first place.

It is a political problem, a societal problem, NOT a problem with the Volunteer Military.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Condi can shove it. I never want to hear from Bush or his retreads ever again. They have learned nothing from their enormous blunders.

echosyst on June 4, 2013 at 7:09 PM

It is a political problem, a societal problem, NOT a problem with the Volunteer Military.

LegendHasIt on June 4, 2013 at 7:08 PM

It’s now a volunteer military serving Obama and they don’t want to get fired, not very many anyway. Draftees and one time volunteers don’t mind being fired as much.

VorDaj on June 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM

We Need to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

BKeyser on June 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM

…and to think I used to respect this woman.

ElectricPhase on June 4, 2013 at 7:42 PM

C

Cleombrotus on June 4, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Step one: U.S. intervention
Step two: ?????
Step three: Fighting declines and a peace settlement is reached and life is made a living hell on earth for Iran and Hezbollah.
FIFY.

Amendment X on June 4, 2013 at 9:48 PM

What is wrong with these people?

Let them fight. They will anyway, and if we get involved they’ll both turn on us. Guaranteed.

Shoot the winners.

mojo on June 5, 2013 at 2:19 AM

Who was it that said in another conflict “pity that they can’t both lose”?

Syrians have been meddlesome power players and sponsors of the worst sort of actors for decades. Bout time they got a taste of their own medicine. I see nothing wrong with letting the Baathists and Islamists butcher each other. If it goes on for years so much the better.

RobertE on June 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Victor Hanson said something a while back along the lines of

“You’ll notice that the only times peace and democracy have sustained in the Middle East are a) Israel, and b) when there are a bunch of American soldiers on the ground for an extended period of time.”

Not sure the U.S. has the political or economic will to run another (post-surge) Iraq-like operation in Syria today. And forget NATO or the UN.

That being the case, the “aid the rebels, whoever they may be, and let them fight each other and tire themselves out for a while” strategy, aka whack-a-mole, may be the right one. If, in the meantime, they interfere with any Western interests, sure, send some flares over to show we won’t let their in-house drama spread far.

And, more importantly, in the 8-10 or 20 year period of “downtime,” when the new head of the snake is trying to emerge, we choke them and their Iranian allies off economically via an increase in domestic energy production, and increased engagement with the Russians and Chinese to make it doubly worth their while to trade with us than these rogue states, leaving these states too broke to continue fighting.

dmbream on June 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

“The United States doesn’t have an option of no action”

We must step in and win this war for Al Qaeda and the terrorists.

No?

We must step in and win this war for the violent dictator oppressing his people then?

No?

Before you tell me we must get involved in a war; explain which side you want to help win; and why. Can you do that?

gekkobear on June 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM