Does this sound a little like grade school? You know, where you don't tell Mary you like her, but ask a friend to mention it to her. Talk about being wankers. No direct contact is necessary.
Of course, if she likes you then its a whole different ballgame. For Bushco however, there will be no direct contact regardless what "Mary" says. Bombing Syria wouldn't be considered direct contact, right?
Though American officials consistently point to Syria as a key player in the Middle East crisis, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointedly won't be stopping in Damascus on her current trip to the region.
She is visiting Lebanon, Israel, and the Palestinian territories before attending an international conference in Rome tomorrow. The meeting, bringing together Western and Arab countries, is to explore the avenues that could lead to a cease-fire and creation of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.
But it is Syria that Ms. Rice and other US officials say "knows what it needs to do" in this crisis. That means stopping its arms supply line to Hizbullah's military wing, and pressuring Hizbullah's leaders (some of whom live in Damascus) to give up abducted Israeli soldiers and cease the shelling of Israeli territory.
But rather than delivering that message itself to Damascus - an Arab capital that has had no American ambassador for more than a year - Washington is turning to its closest Arab partners to carry its message.
The Bush administration's principle of avoiding the international players it finds most objectionable is facing in the Middle East what may be its biggest test.
It is a diplomatic practice that the Bush administration has used elsewhere, but without clear results thus far, analysts say.
Charles Freeman, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is a skeptic. "To imagine you could somehow subcontract to someone else the contacts and pressuring with a party you consider crucial but at the same time disagreeable or objectionable is not a good" approach, he says .
But of course, no one will listen to Charles Freeman who probably knows more about the Middle East than Dim Sun knows about his Texas
farm. I scratched the word ranch because no true Texan would call Dim Sun's property a ranch.