Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, May 04, 2007

US shift on Syria
Condoleeza Rice's meeting with Syrian Secretary of State Walid al-Moallem signals a shift in White House policy and is reflective of the changes the Bush administration is having to make in the face of a stronger Democratic Congress and Senate.

The Democrats have been calling for the inclusion of Syria in a "mediation strategy" for the resolving of the Iraq conflict, but this has been repeatedly and disdainfully repudiated by Bush. Less than a month ago, the White House labelled "bad behaviour" a trip by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to visit Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. Rice's meeting is the first such contact in a few years, and given Bush's recent veto of the Iraq war funding bill, shows that Bush is having to toe the line on certain issues.

One would suggest that this would be more symbolic than anything else, but at least the White House seems to be understanding that the neocon strategy of complete isolation in foreign affairs is frought with dangers.