Wednesday, January 25, 2017

US lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). AFP Photo.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this month. AFP. Gabbard was on a fact finding trip in Syria with the goal of finding a way to end the conflict. After meeting with refugees, opposition leaders and family member of fighters on both side of the war, she was given an opportunity to meet with Assad. She said that no matter what people think of Assad, he is the president of Syria an he needs to be included if a peace deal is to be reached. Gabbard has a long history of clashing with her party on foreign policy, especially on Syria, and she also met with Donald Trump after he won the election. 

My Comment:
Just in case people thought I was incapable of saying anything nice about Democrats, I have to say that I really like Tulsi Gabbard. She's a veteran and for a Democrat, she makes a lot of sense. Indeed, she reminds me a lot of Jim Webb, who was the only presidential candidate in the Democratic Party that I actually could of voted for. There were rumors that Gabbard was being considered for a post in the Trump White House and if that happened I would have been fine with it. 

Indeed, I would hope that there are more Democrats out there like Gabbard. Though I certainly don't agree with all of her positions, or even most of them, but it's clear that she's got a more level head on her shoulders. If the Democratic party is going to survive they are going to need people like Gabbard. I am hoping Gabbard and the people like her can steer the course for the party onto a more rational path. 

As for the meeting with Assad, I wonder what was discussed. As far as I know there aren't any new plans for Syria. Right now status quo ante seems to be the idea for the Trump administration. Part of that is because of the transition. It will take some time for the Trump administration to get up to speed and come up with a new strategy against ISIS. I am guessing that this was more of an unofficial fact finding mission than the start of something big. Gabbard probably just wanted to figure out what Assad wants and what he would accept in return for a end to the war. 

I do think that Assad is probably not going to be removed under a Trump administration. Trump has always been opposed to that and I think that he genuinely does want to end the war. I don't think that this early in the presidency, he isn't going to be able to do much. But the lines of communication are opening, lines of communication that didn't exist under the Obama administration. A peace deal might be a tall order, but unlike Barack Obama, he looks like he will try it. Time will tell if it succeeds. 

I also like that there seems to be some bipartisan support for ending the war in Syria without moving Assad. I think it's pretty clear that the Syrian War issue isn't a division between the right and left, but between globalists, like Hillary Clinton and John McCain, and nationalists, like Gabbard, Trump and Bernie Sanders. The problem is what are we going to do when those globalists try to stop efforts like Gabbard's? John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem desperate to overthrow the Syrian government, and I don't think they would agree to a peace deal... 

Do I have a lot of hope that this meeting will have an effect? Probably not. Though Gabbard is an important figure, she alone can't stop the war. The Trump administration could try but we have to remember that the Syrian opposition might not go along with it. More then anything else, they are the ones that can derail a peace process... 

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