The Corner

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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On Senator Nelson’s Trip to Syria

MORT KONDRACKE: [W]e’re not at war with Syria. If a member of Congress wants to go and check out a situation in a foreign country, even if the State Department suggests that he not do it, I do not see anything wrong with doing it. He’s not — he has no power to negotiate with Syria. He’s trying to get the lay of the land so he’s an informed senator. I mean, I do not think that senators should expect to just get their information only from the administration about what our policy for Syria is.

BILL SAMMON: Well, this regime supports Hezbollah, it supports Hamas, it tries to destabilize the Lebanese government, it supports terrorism and it’s not going to — if it’s trying to destabilize a fledgling Democracy like Lebanon, why would it turn around and help us stabilize another fledgling Democracy like Iraq?

And I agree with Mort that the guy has the right to go do it and the president shouldn’t try to, you know, assert some sort of executive power grab and not let anybody else do it, but it does sends mixed messages. It does send a message that we’re divided. You’ve got the administration saying we’re not good to talk to Syria and you’ve got Democratic senators freelancing and going over and talking.

And again, this is the guy that was there two years ago and was assured by Assad that he would close the border to terrorist and equipment and weapons and he got the same assurances this week. So, nothing’s changed in two years. So, I’m not sure that the door has opened a crack at all.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know what my opinion on that is to send Jim Baker to Damascus as the negotiator empowered to see if he can reach that deal. I want to see him try. He thinks — look, if Jim Baker thinks that the Syrians can be flipped against Hezbollah and will become supporters of the government — of the independence of Lebanon in return for the Golan Heights, and he can deliver that deal with the Israelis, more power to him. I don’t think he can. I don’t think it’s a deal that can be cut.

SAMMON: Well, the problem is Baker’s a diplomat, he thinks the problem can be solved diplomatically and not militarily. The reality is it has to be solved militarily not diplomatically.

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