I met with Sandmonkey (at an undisclosed location) and commiserated. He is as charming and clever as you might expect from the "writer of an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey." Fabulous. But his words of premonitory warning gave me great pause. He has scorn for the "new Democrats" that sold out reformers and activists and destroyed fledging movements of democracy.
Here is a link to the conversation in mp3 format.
America has great power but when she refuses to exercise it, this happens:
Atlas: Where you shocked when Hoyer met with the Muslim Brotherhood?
SANDMONKEY: Let me tell you something. I was in Turkey a couple of weeks ago and I met a couple of Syrian activists. They one thing they told me that was really funny about the Pelosi visit. After Pelosi came to Syria two things happened. People on Syrian TV were saying, "We forced the Americans to knock on the Damascus gate!" Sort of like an admission that we messed things up in Iraq so much that America had to come and beg for their help.
But the day after Pelosi's visits there were immediate arrests of Syrian activists. That was the fruit she yielded. "Oh the Americans came over and they said they have a different foreign policy and they're more interested in placating Bashar's ego." And he went out and got [arrested] everyone he wanted because he knew he had an ally in Washington that wouldn't pressure him as much.
An ally, indeed. The Middle Eastern thugs got the message loud and clear: they don't have to fear the US.