"polite but long discourses on Greater Syria"

At the most recent White House press briefing, Press Secretary Tony Snow described as "blazingly pointless" past American diplomacy with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, which includes the negotiations during the George HW Bush Administration that resulted in Syrian and American troops fighting side by side to expel Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait during the first Gulf War.

Hence, Snow's rationale for avoiding diplomacy with Syria:
Because the track record stinks. I don't know if you remember all the old pictures of diplomats...sitting around there drinking tea with Hafez al-Assad, the father, having to sit there for five, six, ten hours, listening to polite but long discourses on Greater Syria, and at the end of that, having gotten nothing.
Well, here is my advice to anyone who finds himself in this predicament:
1) keep Greater Syria lectures to 90 minutes or less

2) serve arak instead of tea
That might improve the results.