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Wednesday, April 16, 2003
a wee bit more Syria
The Guardian reports on the Syria situation. The good news: Bush actually had the sense of self-preservation necessary to stop development of war plans. The bad news: the Pentagon was making war plans. You can say, "Oh, but they're only contingency war plans." But what possible contingency could make it necessary for us to go to war with Syria? A rogue commander leading an Abrams brigade into Damascus? What? Anyway, I'm still not entirely convinced, but that's at least a bit of a relief.

Thomas Friedman, meanwhile, says, "Well, you know, Syria..." He does make the valid point that Syria is currently occupying Lebanon, and that maybe we should be using diplomatic means to get it out of there, since "Lebanon is the only Arab country to have had a functioning democracy." Eh, I dunno--when we can't get a country we're partners with (Israel) to get out of the small bits of countries it's currently occupying, it seems unlikely that we're going to get a country we're hostile to out of another country through our current brand of diplomacy. Friedman:

Bush-style military engagement with Syria is not in the cards right now. But French-style constructive engagement, which is just a cover for dancing with dictators, is a fraud. The natural third way is "aggressive engagement." That means getting in Syria's face every day. Reminding the world of its 27-year occupation of Lebanon and how much it has held that country back, and reminding the Syrian people of how much they've been deprived of a better future by their own thuggish regime.

See, OK, but the last time we did that we ended up invading, so that makes all of us just a wee bit nervous.

He also recommends "agressive engagement" for Israel, but it seems unlikely that we're going to be getting in their face and constantly reminding the world of Sharon's atrocities very soon. Oh well. Look, can we all just encourage Bush to sit around and not touch anything until the Democrats get into office?