Friends Like These
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Well, that should settle it. Peace in the Middle East will not be possible so long as President Bush is America’s leader. Who says so? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean? Senator Kerry? Rep. Nancy Pelosi? Or the president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad? This time, the correct answer happens to be President al-Assad. In a speech yesterday, he declared that “the Middle East [the Americans] aspire to has become an illusion,” the Jerusalem Post reported. Rather, it is “the achievements of the resistance” that are reshaping the region, and by “resistance” he evidently means terrorists like Hezbollah.
One could be forgiven for guessing that such rhetoric was coming from American Democrats, however, for pronouncements similar to Mr. Al-Assad’s have. Except that their pessimism predates the latest conflict. Back in December, for example, Rep. Pelosi, who hopes to become Speaker after November’s election, took to the airwaves in one of her frequent attacks on the administration’s Middle East policy, saying, “President Bush persists in pursuing a flawed policy that has not made the American people safer nor made the Middle East more secure. It is time for a new direction in Iraq — not more of the same.”
Shortly after the conflict started, Dr. Dean was quick to condemn Hezbollah’s attack on Israel but just as eager to blame President Bush for the “failure” of his Middle East program. “The fact remains that the Bush Administration has failed to substantively engage in the very difficult arena of Middle East peacemaking over the past six years,” Dr. Dean said. “President Bush must continue to actively step up U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Only with sustained American diplomacy and the resumption of direct negotiations will the people of the Middle East find the peace they long for and deserve.”
Mr. Kerry, the senator from the Great State of Windsurfing, told a Michigan audience at about the same time in respect of the Israel-Lebanon battle that “If I was president, this wouldn’t have happened.” He went on to tell is Democratic listeners that “We’re going to have a lot of ground to make up [in 2008] because of it.” Perhaps presaging Mr. Assad’s “illusion” theme, Mr. Kerry wrapped up with these stinging words about President Bush’s Middle East policy: “He has made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq.”
We don’t want to question the Democrats’ patriotism; its tribunes are, for the most part, idealistic and well-meaning Americans. But they have managed to get themselves into a fix in which people like the Syrian dictator are openly rooting for their accession. As for Mr. al-Assad, let him study his Abraham Lincoln, particularly the part about how one can’t fool all of the people all of the time. We have no doubt that one of the reasons Americans returned Mr. Bush to office the last time around was their sense that our enemies don’t like dealing with him.