2007: Biden Criticizes Rice for Disillusioned Diplomacy Hopes in Syria
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explained the administration’s position on Mr. Assad to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2007.
“If there were any evidence, any hint, that Syria was changing its course – and it should just change its course – we don’t have an ideological problem with talking to Syria,” Ms. Rice testified. “We’ve talked with them under this administration. We could do it again. But the problem is, they are not engaging in constructive behavior. And we don’t see how that would change, currently, by talking to them.”
Mr. Biden, then the committee’s chairman, scolded her and reminded her of her duties.
“I do not agree with your statement, Madame Secretary, that negotiations with Iran and Syria would be extortion, nor did most of the witnesses we heard in this committee during the last month,” Mr. Biden said. “The proper term, I believe and they believe, is diplomacy, which is not about paying a price but finding a way to protect our interests without engaging in military conflict. It is, I might add, the fundamental responsibility of the Department of State, to engage in such diplomacy, as you well know.”
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