Engage Syria? Some favor it

Monday, February 22, 2010

What I found most admirable about the Feb. 19 editorial "Dead end in Damascus" was its courage to stand up to voices from the left and the right, all the mainstream calls, and most of the world leaders and say: "No. Engagement will not work."

I also found impressive that while a U.N. tribunal has spent years and millions of dollars trying to pinpoint the murderers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and has failed, you succeeded. That while former secretary of state Colin L. Powell tells Newsweek that it upsets him when people said that he went to Syria and Syria did not deliver, you still repeat it. That while Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) lauds cooperation with Syria, you disagree. That when Mr. Kerry and then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) say that "history shows that intensive diplomacy can pay off [with Syria]," you contest. And when they also say that "our policy of nonengagement has isolated us more than the Syrians" and Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey D. Feltman says that "the United States, not Syria, seems to be isolated," you still advocate nonengagement.

Luckily, there is a new administration that learns from history and heeds erudite advice.

Ahmed Salkini, Washington

The writer is the spokesman for the Embassy of Syria.

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