Romancing the Thugs

In 1992 candidate Bill Clinton excoriated president George Bush for "coddling" dictators. Now forget about General Raoul Cedras and his golden Panamanian parachute. Consider only that President Clinton last week bestowed one of the highest presidential honors on one of the world's chief thugs, President Hafez Assad of Syria. The usual place for meeting the likes of him is some neutral site like Geneva. (One comes away less soiled that way.) Yet Clinton decided to pay court to Assad in Damascus. It was the first visit by a President to a nation on the U.S. list of terrorist states.

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