Perhaps no Federal agency is more regularly staffed by delusional hacks whose interests are regularly misaligned with the President they allegedly work for than the State Department. This is true under both Republican and Democrat administrations, except during Republican administrations the State Department wages war against the President via leaks and under Democrats they wage war against the President via incompetence. An agency that employs Jen Psaki and Marie Harf in positions of actual responsibility is not healthy.
The latest farce involving the State Department comes in terms of their insanely panglossian view of the timeline for a possible political solution to the Syrian civil war. State has been having talks with foreign powers about the Syrian crisis that it has been optimistic about for some time, prompting John Kerry to hilariously claim that we were “weeks” away from an end to the Syrian conflict. There’s just one problem: the talks have not involved any of the parties to the Syrian conflict themselves.
Western powers continue to assume, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that they can agree to terms involving the various Muslim factions in the world, and whatever faction they have been backing will just nod along, like a puppet that the United States has their hand inside of. This might be a reasonable viewpoint, except for the last 35 uninterrupted years of actual experience to the contrary. It will be a fine and hilarious solution if Jon Kerry marches out to announce an agreement that ends the Syrian civil war to which neither the rebels we have been arming nor Assad is not a signatory, and nothing stops. This, however, is the world we are cruising towards.
Note also, only one party to the talks has been taking actual steps to make this solution a feasible one, and it isn’t the United States. For all that the Obama administration has blustered that Russia entered the Syrian conflict out of a position of weakness and of not understanding what is going on, the State deparment is now force to conclude that Russia is the one party who’s in a position to force at least one of the sides to the conflict (Assad) into compliance with whatever deal is reached:
Speaking at Foreign Policy’s annual Transformational Trends forum in Washington, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Russia’s military intervention to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad had “ironically” hastened progress towards a potential diplomatic solution to the conflict, which has killed some 250,000 people and sparked the largest refugee crisis since World War II.
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In explaining his optimism, Blinken argued that the Moscow’s support to Assad, in the form of airstrikes, arms transfers, and financial assistance, has “increased Russia’s leverage” over Assad, the strongman whose departure will be necessary to end the conflict. “He owes them,” Blinken said.
Here’s a thought – just because Obama doesn’t have a plan in Syria does not mean that Putin also doesn’t. Maybe it isn’t “ironically” that Russia’s actions have potentially brought a political solution closer, maybe it’s “on purpose.” Maybe acting decisively and responding with actual force has a better chance of bringing a quicker peace than half-assed measures and hope.
Probably not, but it’s a tactic the Obama administration should at least look into.