In the annals of stupidity, thinking before the revolution started that Bashar al Assad was a reformer doesn’t qualify. Trying to make an issue of what John Kerry thought and said about Syria before the revolution, however, does qualify as stupidity. But that’s exactly what some conservative websites have been doing.
Until mid-March, 2011, pretty much everyone thought Bashar al Assad was going to reform Syria. He had made some movements in that direction, but had run headlong into the old guard Alawite bloc in the Parliament. He seemed sincerely dedicated to bringing Syria into the 21st century and he and his beautiful, British-born wife Asma were very popular in Syria and among Western leaders.
But when anti-government demonstrations in early March, 2011, in Southern Syria in protest of the government’s lack of action in response to a long-term drought led to no response, demonstrations spread across the country. On March 15, there were demonstrations everywhere. For a little while, there were what may have been independent snipers taking shots at demonstrators, and a general sense that Bashar al Assad had no idea what was going on and how to deal with it. In fact, for most of the first year, it seemed like Bashar was living in a parallel dimension where events were months behind those in our dimension. He would step through the barrier and deliver a speech that would have been relevant months earlier. As the attacks on dissidents and protesters increased, Bashar seemed even more out of the reality loop.
Since March 15, 2011, over 60,000 Syrians have died and an estimated 2.5 million are refugees both inside and outside of the country. And Bashar still thinks he’s fighting foreign terrorists the way his father did in 1983, still thinks he’s defending Syria from pan-Islamism, still thinks he is the champion of pan-Arabism, is still living in his parallel dimension.
Once upon a time, Saddam Hussein was our ally, until he wasn’t. Moammar al Qaddafi swung back and forth between being viciously anti-West, being pro-West and being just crazy. Joseph Stalin was our ally in World War II and our enemy before and after the war. Relationships between countries are always in flux. Leaders can do 180′s from being benign to being malignant.
No one being nominated as Secretary of State, no Secretary of State, should be taken to task for statements or positions taken even three days ago, because the world is too changeable.
Let’s admit it…President Obama could nominate Jesus Christ to be Secretary of State and the right wing would object. This has nothing to do with John Kerry or even with Bashar al Assad. It is all about finding something, anything, no matter how stupid, to object to about our President.