This is completely unacceptable.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Saturday that the United States is willing to negotiate the conditions and timing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power, and urged Russia to convince him to negotiate his exit.
Look, a few days ago, I tweeted that the US could require term limits for Assad and limit him to one more duly elected term. Not one person said a word. It's amazing. Why? It's amazing because Assad took that step himself back in 2012.
During the 2011–2012 Syrian uprising, a new constitution was put to a referendum. Amongst other changes,
- it abolished the old article 8 which entrenched the power of the Ba'ath party. The new article 8 reads: "The political system is based on the principle of political pluralism, and rule is only obtained and exercised democratically through voting.";
- in a new article 88, it introduced presidential elections and limited the term of office for the president to seven years with a maximum of one re-election.
The referendum resulted in the adoption of the new constitution, which came into force on 27 February 2012.
(Source: Constitution of Syria, 2012 revision)
US foreign policy against Syria and Assad has been, and remains, asinine.
Assad stood for election. He received enough votes that regardless of the war and the refugees at the time, he would have won anyway, hands down. The election was completely free and fair. He is the duly elected President of Syria serving under term limits. If he is allowed to serve out his term, he will step down. Multi-party elections will be held. The winner will be declared based upon a free-and-fair election.
There is zero good reason why the US Obama administration is still insisting that Assad step down before his term of office is over.
Frankly, Vladimir Putin's policy concerning the region is vastly superior to Barack Obama's. If both men and nations are hellbent for violence as a means of conflict resolution, then at least Mr. Obama should join Mr. Putin in stopping IS (the Islamic State) and all the Islamic subjugators. Then Syria would be free (relatively speaking), democratic, multi-party, etc., which is exactly what the US claims it supports in the world.
The mark of a wise man is one who can change, even if it means admitting he was wrong about those he deemed his enemies. So, Barack Obama can simply change his policy toward Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad.
To Hell with the Sunni-Shiite Divide. To Hell with absolute monarchs not chosen by their people but who rather lord it over them by threats of punishment (even death) for simply speaking up for democracy. What kind of allies are they for the US? Let such monarchs wake up and change too.
Let the people in Eastern Ukraine be autonomous. Stop funding their slaughter. Let Kiev turn its attention to fixing it's own nightmarish economy. Time will see Russia, Eastern Ukraine (Novorussia), and Ukraine getting along famously and greatly benefiting the US if the US will stop with the neocon's Trotskyist-modeled global-revolution crap for neoliberal capitalism (anti-democracy).
The only thing Russia has really been doing is threatening to defend itself. Vladimir Putin isn't trying to cause the unconstitutional or violent overthrow of Barack Obama. What's Barack Obama doing vis-a-vis Putin in that regard?
Taking this policy move I'm suggesting would also help ease tensions with Iran and China and generally settle down the entire planet, which is what we need if we're going to stop violent Islamic imperialists and global warming and all the rest of the problems we face, not the least of which is poverty.
UPDATE: Here's a link you should read: Obama Re-Defines Democracy – A Country that Supports U.S. Policy, by Michael Hudson, research professor of Economics, University of Missouri, Kansas City, research associate, Levy Economics Institute, Bard College.