transferred long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israeli and U.S. officials alleged, in a move that threatens to alter the Middle East's military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to Damascus by the Obama administration. . .Hezbollah's response? The terror group admitted it, but downplayed the consequences because it already "has many surface-to-surface missiles spread across all of Lebanon." In other words, 'yes, I'm beating my wife, but I have for years. . .'
The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles--placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah's military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.
Israeli officials called Scud missiles "game-changing" armaments that mark a new escalation in the Mideast conflict. They alleged that Mr. Assad is increasingly linking Syria's military command with those of Hezbollah and Iran.
So how did the Obama Administration react? By "pressing ahead" to install a new Ambassador -- in effect rewarding Syria with recognition -- and "relay[ing] concerns to the highest levels." In short, precisely the same as the President's non-response to Iran's drive toward nuclear weapons.
In Commentary Magazine, Noah Pollak observes that this shatters another bogus campaign talking point:
Remember how critics of the Bush administration always said that the neocon cowboys in the White House clung stubbornly to failed policies out of ideological conviction? Here’s the final paragraph of the WSJ story:Toothless talk and inaction aren't always appropriate--it just encourages rogue states and terrorist groups to escalate until it's too late, increasing the risks that actual force may be required (perhaps by Israel, as opposed to the U.S.).U.S. officials stressed, however, that the White House wasn’t second-guessing its engagement strategy and was pushing forward with Mr. Ford’s nomination. "Sending an Ambassador to Syria who can press the Syrian government in a firm and coordinated fashion . . . is part of our strategy to achieve comprehensive peace in the region," the White House said in a statement.I’m sure Mr. Ford is a talented diplomat, but is there any chance that his presence in Damascus would have stopped the transfer of long-range missiles to Hezbollah?
Obama promised a foreign policy centered on "tough, direct presidential diplomacy." He remains committed to that approach. Even though, after a while, mere protest is acquiescence--and appeasement.
(via reader Marc)