Senator John Kerry has been the staunchest ally of Baschar al-Assad. No one comes to mind who has met more with Assad, lobbied for Assad, or supported the reformer Assad than John Kerry. The man was Assad‘s secret weapon in Washington and many who worked around Kerry would tell you that the Senator believed in Assad as a father would believe in his son.
But since Assad is his own worst enemy, father Kerry has no choice but to let go at a certain point. However, letting go means Kerry must pedal back and re-spin and re-weave his byline. After all, too many people in Washington, upon exiting the Obama administration, will be vying to write their memoirs. Given Kerry’s behavior towards Assad, many memoirs would not miss for the world to juicy-up their pages withÂ titillatingÂ stories about Kerry’s adamant stand.
On July 31, an article in the Washington Post by John Warrick and Anne Gearan with the title “For besieged Syrian dictator Assad, only exit may be body bag,”Â prompted a keen response from the Kerry camp. The article in questionÂ sumsÂ up Kerry’s support this way:
“Assad”™s Western habits and seemingly moderate views had initially inspired optimism among Western acquaintances and Syria watchers about his leadership of the strategically vital country of 20Â million. Assad”™s pledges to implement political and economic reform once won him prominent admirers in the United States, includingÂ Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee”.
So to weave himself clean, one of Senator Kerry‘s aides addressed a letter to the Editor of the Washington Post in response to Warrick and Gearan’s piece the text of which is:
“I was stunned to read the assertion that Bashar al-Assad ever had “prominent admirers in the United States, including Sen. John F. Kerry” [“For besieged Syrian dictator Assad, only exit may be body bag,”Â front page, Aug. 1]. Mr. Kerry never claimed or believed that Mr. Assad was a “reformer” or had any interest beyond regime survival. But that one interest was the reason that former secretaries of state James Baker and Henry Kissinger and Sens. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) believed it was worth testing U.S. engagement with Damascus, after eight years of isolationist policies had moved Syria only closer to Iran.
There might have been a path forward, a possibility that was well worth exploring: Syria desperately needed economic help to prevent a powder keg of demographic pressure from exploding, and we wanted peace with Israel and an end to Syria”™s coziness with Iran and terrorist organizations. History showed that Syria had occasionally taken positive steps when engaged by the West ”” most notably in supporting the first Gulf War following Mr. Baker”™s 12 visits to Damascus.
In testing an engagement policy, Mr. Kerry always insisted that actions, not words, counted. He doesn”™t regret testing Syria”™s intentions, but he does regret that Mr. Assad squandered the opportunity. Mr. Kerry has condemned the regime, urged Mr. Assad”™s departure and pressed for a managed transition that would respect the aspirations of the Syrian people and help end the bloodshed.”
Jodi B. Seth, Washington
The writer is communications director for the Senate ÂForeign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. John F. Kerry.
Â Senator Kerry tries with this communication peace to include other leaders supportive of the policy to engage Assad. “I am not alone” is Kerry’s message.
Nobody supported Assad like Kerry. Nobody. As if the other leadersÂ impassioned and pragmatic approach could be compared to Kerry’s passionate support of the Assad’s dictatorship.
A reader with the screen name charlieg1Â writes:
“… Jodi B. Seth, Washington
The writer is communications director for the Senate ÂForeign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. John F. Kerry.”
This letter reads like a rather hasty damage control – “spin effort” – on the part of its author mentioned just above.
We unwashed members of the public should be wary, and very weary of such phrases coming from the likes of this guy who reads like he’s trying to cover his Chairman’s a**.
That’s simply his job…
Â Well said charlieg1.
Senator John Kerry is in “damage control” mode now. His guy is falling too fast for his office to save him.
But knowing Kerry, it would not surprise me at all if he is attempting a last ditch effort to save Assad from exiting Syria in a body bag. Kerry would not mind traveling to Russia to meet with Assad secretly one day to tell him “We tried son, we really tried”.