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When The West Romanced Assad

Now, the dictator of Syria is an international pariah. How fast the world changes.

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Editors' note

This post has been corrected to remove phrases that were copied from a National Review article.

BuzzFeed takes its responsibility to readers very seriously, and plagiarism is a major breach of that responsibility. Please read our apology to readers here.

As the White House begins to ready a probable strike on Syria, a quick reflection on the West's relationship with Damascus shows how recently the U.S. courted Syria as a potential ally.

But in March of 2011 Kerry praised Assad saying the Syrian president:

Kerry continued: “And when I last went to — the last several trips to Syria — I asked President Assad to do certain things to build the relationship with the United States and sort of show the good faith.”

The frequent visits inspired optimism in Kerry, who predicted in 2011: "Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West...

On Monday, a different tone. Kerry described the horrors of the Assad regime: "A man who held up his dead child, wailing... the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound; bodies contorting in spasms...

Interestingly enough Mr. Kerry, Donald Rumsfeld can empathize.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.

Contact Benny Johnson at

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