Monday, October 16, 2006
My take on Syrian politics have often been compared to neocon stands, and I have been often accused both in private and in the comment section of this blog of advocating war against the Syrian regime. This is recent response to a private criticism that echoed the above themes:
To me, my take on Syria has nothing to do with Zionism or neocon thought, it is about the reality we have to deal with in Syria on a daily basis. I cannot ignore this reality, or, to be more honest and accurate, my perception of it, simply because it coincides with that of some neocon thinker here or there. The Assads are the way they are, a brutal corrupt clique that will do anything to stay in power, I didn’t make them this way and I don’t see why they would, of their own volition, and in the absence of any pressures, choose to change their behavior. If there are those who want to ignore this reality and deal with the Assads as if they are some reasonable statesmen guided by consideration of national interest, then, I have the right to say that these people are wrong and are bound to screw things up for us, as a people, even more that the current administration, which might indeed be employing wrong tactics, but they are, at least, making the right assessment, namely that the Assads are unchangeable irreformable thugs.
But if some, while acknowledging the fact that the Assads are thugs and still want to talk shop with them, in the name of real politick and all that, then, this is extremely problematic, because, as 9/11 clearly demonstrated, empowering such figures is no longer detrimental to the interests of the peoples of the region only, but to peoples everywhere. For in this shrinking world our problems, our dissatisfaction, our dejection, our rebellion end up assuming an international character and our ire end up focused on external parties and powers, just as easily as it is focused on the internal actors, if not more so, a matter that is facilitated by the constant brainwashing to which we are subjected, certain messianic cultural traits, and good old-fashion human nature.
The corruption and authoritarian nature of the ruling regimes are serving to break the civil fabric in our region and are driving populations into recoiling onto primordial modes of belonging and extremist modes of thought. This, in turn, creates existential problems for the regimes which they can only address by encouraging their exportation elsewhere in the region and the world. This is why the Saudis back the establishment of wahhabi and salafi currents all through the world, and this is why the Assads, driven in particular by their minoritarian background which precludes any possibility of reform, or internal legitimization of their position, have gotten in bed with so many Jihadi movements in the region, back in the good old 80s, and now.
On the other hand, and if people want to wax critical of the current US administration, that's quite fine by me, but I caution against letting our criticism turn, or be turned, into an endorsement of policies that are bound to be equally disastrous. The reality is neither the neocon nor the liberals have a clue of how to handle the current crisis. Their continuous political bickering on so many issues not related to the Middle East, mostly domestic, is serving to recreate Cold War conditions in the region, where regimes attempt to ingratiate themselves to one side of the argument in the hope of relying on it to check the other side when it comes to certain critical decisions pertaining to the region.
Add to this, the continuing inability to coordinate with the allies in Europe, to carve place for China and Russia in the global decision-making process, or to come up with a new vision for NATO that will allow it to compensate for the shortcomings of the UN, not to mention actually coming up with a new vision for the UN itself, because, in the final analysis, this is what is really at stake here when we talk about a New World Order, and you have the recipe for a virtual disaster, the brunt of which will be felt by us all.
Unless there is a sufficient international will to tackle the challenges highlighted above, so that a real reform/peace package can be submitted to the peoples of the region, with real carrots and real sticks, for people tend to forget that this is not an either or situation, and the willingness to use both when needed, the only thing that the current politicking can produce at this stage is to move us from one disaster to another to yet another, until we hit the big one.
When it comes to real preemptive efforts, human beings have always proved lacking. We can only preempt in retrospect. But when it comes to plunging headfirst into disaster, we have always been proactive.
This is why I don’t bother much to criticize the Bush administration, what’s the point? My recommendations are too surreal for any administration to warrant serious consideration, and any criticisms I might have will simply be used as fodder in a meaningless political battle that will serve no real purpose, as far as I am concerned at least. The only reason I bother to criticize our side of the equation is my desire to find like-minded people with whom I can work and cooperate with regard to my surreal projects, including Tharwa.