The Obama administration is sending Ambassador Robert Ford back to Syria, even as the regime continues to attack civilians and opposition groups.
Ford had been recalled in October, prompting Syria to recall its ambassador to the U.S. He is now scheduled to return, after a delay prompted by fears for his security.
Though originally a recess appointment, Ford was recently confirmed by the Senate through the end of President Obama’s term. He won praise for monitoring Syrian human rights abuses, but by the end of October it became clear that the regime was simply uninteresting in “reform,” no matter what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once said.
The Obama administration had re-established full diplomatic relations with Syria, as part of an effort to “engage” the Arab world, regardless of the character of the regimes that rule it.
That effort was itself the continuation of an effort undertaken by Democrats in 2007 immediately after taking control of Congress, when then-Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously met with the Syrian dictator in an attempt to distance her party from the interventionist and pro-democracy policies of then-President George W. Bush.
President Bush had broken off all relations with Syria in 2005 due to the Assad regime’s likely role in the assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
The Obama administration thus far has continued to prioritize “engagement” with hostile regimes above human rights and democracy. When it has confronted autocratic regimes, it has done so belatedly, and it has tended to be most harsh with pro-American regimes (such as Egypt) or those that had complied with western demands (such as Libya). The Obama administration has largely ignored warnings about the Islamist character of the new governments that have replaced the old regimes, even in nominally liberal Tunisia.
As Israeli physicist Dr. Haim Harari noted last month, the Obama administration’s policy “works against dictatorial friends of America and does not oppose, in any significant way, all dictatorial foes of America.” It is a post-colonial policy, driven by a misplaced and contrived western guilt that has been embraced by the president, the Democratic Party, and too much of the American foreign policy establishment.