Wednesday, December 18

Insanity of the day: State Dept "open to engaging" with hard-line Islamic terrorists in Syria

Ever wonder how it happens that the U.S. government makes so many glaringly, obviously bad foreign-policy decisions?  Examples:  backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, same in Libya, and now here's a story in the online version of Foreign Policy magazine yesterday:
U.S. Weighing Closer Ties With Hardline Islamists in Syria

As the moderate faction of the Syrian rebellion implodes under the strain of vicious infighting and diminished resources, the United States is increasingly looking to hardline Islamists in its efforts to gain leverage in Syria's civil war. The development has alarmed U.S. observers concerned that the radical Salafists do not share U.S. values...

On Monday the State Department confirmed its openness to engaging with the Islamic Front following the group's seizure of a Free Syrian Army headquarters last week...."We wouldn't rule out the possibility of meeting with the Islamic Front," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday. "We can engage with the Islamic Front, of course, because they're not designated terrorists ..."
So let's see if I've got this:  "Radical Salafists" are the Muslim extremists, the ones who behead bound captives and shoot people for having affairs.  The worst of the worst.  And now the U.S. government has signaled that it wants to "look to" them to "gain leverage" in the all-bad-guys clusterfuck that is Syria's civil war.

Folks, this is the same mind-set that brought you the famously awful Iran "deal" that the Iranians have already junked:  "Oooh, we need to get a deal right away, so we'll have leverage."  It ignores all our experience with radical Islamists--mainly that making a deal with them is an utter waste of time.  It won't induce them to change either their behavior or their strategy one iota.

But that doesn't matter to the folks at State, cuz they can say they negotiated a deal.  One that gained the U.S. leverage.

In fact, trying to "engage" them is worse than a waste, because our support (whether humanitarian or supplying arms) angers the other side--which is arguably no worse and in many ways a lot better.  Other governments in the region--seeing that the U.S. supports the beheaders--decide it's better to cave to their demands than to fight salafists backed by U.S. support.

If one were to pick exactly the strategy designed to lose more countries to radical Muslims in the shortest possible time, this would be pretty close to the winner.

Wanna know who comes up with crap like this?  Good luck.  You'll never find the originator(s).  Rather, when it all blows up the excuse will be just like our screw-up in Egypt:  The decision to support the hard-line bad guys just...happened.  Everyone was just doing what they were just certain was the right thing given the information available at the time.

The fact that a whole slew of less-ideological hands were saying "This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of" is conveniently forgotten.  Cuz, what could possibly be more important than making a deal?

Now "Foreign Policy" magazine isn't a government publication, but as a subsidiary of the Washington Post's Slate group it's a pretty good indication of what the "elites" who run government are thinking--and thus what all the lower-ranking analysts and report writers and assorted munchkins need to be thinking if they want to be promoted.


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