The timing could hardly have been worse: Just days after President Obama shared a chummy hamburger with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev -- the better to dramatize our newly "reset" relations -- the FBI announced the arrest of 11 "deep cover" spies who have been paid and plied by Moscow Center for decades.
The Obama administration seemed more embarrassed about it than the Russians, rushing to reassure the world that this will not affect our new relationship with Russia one bit. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon explained that "We would like to get to the point where there is just so much trust and cooperation between the United States and Russia that nobody would think of turning to intelligence means to find out things that they couldn't find out in other channels."
It's not easy to divert the Obama administration from its pursuit of "engagement." Not even repeated slaps in the face will do the trick.
Consider another diplomatic initiative -- that toward Syria. This week, it was revealed that Syria had obtained a sophisticated radar system from Iran (in violation of U.N. sanctions -- but don't hold your breath for an emergency Security Council session). The radar would make it much more difficult for Israeli jets to fly undetected over Syrian air space en route to Iran. If shared with Hezbollah, a Syrian/Iranian client based in Lebanon, the radar would vastly improve the accuracy of Hezbollah's missiles and bolster its air defenses.
This is merely the latest signal of contempt by Syria for the Obama administration's sedulous courting. Two months ago, Israel announced that Syria had transferred SCUD missiles (range: 400 miles) to Hezbollah, permitting the terror group to hit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Dimona, and Ben Gurion International Airport. In 2006, when Hezbollah launched a war against Israel, its missiles had a range of 20 to 60 miles. But, never daunted, the administration interpreted this provocation as proof that even more friendliness was required of us. "Sending an ambassador to Syria who can press the Syrian government in a firm and coordinated fashion ... is part of our strategy to achieve comprehensive peace in the region," the White House explained.