Hillary Clinton has said Bashar al-Assad no longer has "legitimacy"
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby in Damascus July 13, 2011
On July 11, when asked about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answered: "From our perspective, he has lost legitimacy, he has failed to deliver on the promises he's made," adding that "we would like to see even more countries speaking out as forcefully as we have."
Proponents of a low-cost regime change in Damascus seized upon Clinton's use of the phrase "lost legitimacy" to press the case for the Obama administration to see through Assad's removal. The Washington Post editorial board, in a piece titled "The U.S. has Gotten Tough with Syria; Now it Needs to Get Tougher," noted that it was "good that the Obama administration has finally spoken that truth" but that "now it must act on its words."
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Soon after Secretary Clinton's judgment about who should be the rightful political leader of Syria, the administration has wisely de-escalated its demonization of Assad. During her trip to Turkey over the weekend, Clinton expressed hope that the Syrian opposition "can provide a pathway, hopefully in peaceful cooperation with the government, to a better future."