America’s support for regime change in Syria
saying to a friend last evening that the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment is insane, not seeing the self-evident fact that the “democracy” they support means the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood—or, it increasingly seems, openly supporting the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. Then the below comment came in from an Indian living in the West:
This long article on Syria is worth a look. I think that even if parts of the article are wrong, it conclusively shows that the American foreign policy establishment has totally lost its mind. What the Americans are doing in Syria is going to strengthen the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and endanger the lives of Shias, Jews, and Christians living there. It makes absolutely no sense at all. To think that the CIA is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood with a supply of weapons puts things into perspective.
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Putin emerges from this episode looking like a rational man by comparison. I think that although the neocons are no longer officially calling the shots, their insane prejudices have become a staple diet for the foreign policy establishment. Scary.
Leonard K. writes:
Indian living in the West wrote:
What the Americans are doing in Syria is going to strengthen the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and endanger the lives of Shias, Jews, and Christians living there.
According to Wikipedia,
“Today there are approximately 22 Jews in Syria, all of them living in Damascus.”
The Wikipedia article was written before the start of the current civil war in Syria. I doubt that those 22 people are still in Damascus, if they are alive.
I did wonder about ILW’s reference to Jews in Syria! But I didn’t take the time to ask him about it.
I enjoyed your comments and the linked article about Syria, and I agree with you. Here are some reasons why Russia wants to support the Assad regime (some of this is covered in the Engdahl article):
1. Military ties. Syria is Russia’s last real ally in the region, and the ties go back to the bad old USSR days. The Tartus naval base is part of this package.
2. Destabilization of the region tends to prop up oil and gas prices. These commodities are Russia’s principal source of foreign currency. The collapse of oil prices in the 1980s played a significant part in the demise of the Soviet economy.
3. Fear of Islamic fundamentalism. About 17 percent of Russia’s population is Muslim, and, although Putin has clamped down hard on them, rising Islamic fundamentalism is still a great concern (witness the recent car bombings of “moderate” Islamic clergy in southern Russia.
The U.S. support for the ludicrously named “democratic opposition” (who are really Sunni fundamentalists) is inexcusable but may be aimed at Russia. Why this is important to the American government is incomprehensible. Russia poses no military threat to the U.S. or NATO. Russia’s GDP is about 12 percent of the U.S., about on a par with Canada or Spain. Russia has very little ability to project military power beyond its own borders and is beset by severe internal problems. Why the U.S. is picking a fight with the Russians over this is not clear, to say the least.
And, as you and Engdahl say, a triumph of the opposition forces will lead to a Sunni fundamentalist takeover, which will be bad news for religious minorities, women and democrats. No wonder the corrupt Saudi fundamentalists are supporting them. And of course, the Assad’s were certainly no friends of Israel, but the appearance of a Muslim fundamentalist government in Syria can hardly be viewed favorably by Netanyahu.
American involvement in this horrible mess is both unwise and unnecessary. The best thing we could do is stay out.
JC in Houston writes:
I heard a radio interview with John McCain yesterday. McCain was full of plans to ship weapons to the rebels in Syria and was lamenting the fact that we weren’t doing more to topple the regime and that it was shameful that we hadn’t done more in Libya to topple Quadafi, etc., etc. This man truly has never met a war he didn’t like.
I was (rarely for me) watching TV last night and McCain was featured. I said: “He is still the GOP’s leading voice on foreign policy!”
Yes, very few Jews are there, although my personal Jewish contacts say that these days Jews keep a very low profile in most countries in the Middle East and giving an exact number is very difficult. A Sunni fundamentalist government would be worse for Jews than even the government in Iran right now. There are still 20,000 Jews in Iran and they are nominally represented in the Iranian Parliament. I am not endorsing the Iranian regime, merely saying that the Sunni lunatic variety can be even worse than the Shiite variety. And remember, Assad is not a religious fundamentalist. Also, does anyone remember what happened to Daniel Pearl in Pakistan?
I don’t think the Americans are doing what they are doing in Syria to pick a fight with Russia. This is another mission to spread “democracy.” I disagree that Russia is fomenting trouble to prop up oil prices. The fact is that a destabilisation of the Syrian regime will do more to prop up prices than the survival of the Assad regime. American prickliness at Russia is stupid to say the least because the Russians can be used very effectively as American allies to further a sensible foreign policy. However, when was the last time America had anything remotely resembling a “sensible foreign policy”? The whole situation is becoming more ridiculous by the minute.
When the new rulers of Syria turn against the Shiites with a vengeance, the Americans will turn a blind eye to it in the same way that they have done with all the massacres in Iraq after the fall of Saddam or after the fall of Gaddafi in Libya. There is a dangerous combination of idealism and recklessness here which has few parallels in history. American foreign policy is currently being led by Hillary Clinton. Need I say more?
How could a country unquestioningly devoted to a domestic ideology and policy of national suicide have a rational foreign policy? How could such people possibly think straight about anything beyond their own personal needs?
Dave T. writes:
I think it’s absurd to suggest that the foreign policy left is systematically supporting Muslim groups around the Mediterranean because they’ve collectively lost their minds and/or adopted the prejudices of the Bush era neocons. It is true that the foreign policy left isn’t aiding such groups as the Muslim Brotherhood for rational, utilitarian reasons. However, this doesn’t mean that the best explanation for their policy is that they’ve become irrational people. Otherwise, why do they consistently support these groups in such a calculated, rational manner?
Rather, I suggest that the best explanation for this phenomenon is both rational and spiritual. The foreign policy left supports these Muslim groups because at the spiritual level the left and the Muslims are allies bound together by a common “mystery of lawlessness” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:7) in the sense that those who are evil at some level recognize their own and even aid each other because they are controlled by the same spiritual forces (see Eph 2:1-2). Of course, it’s impossible to know whether this thesis is correct or not, but it represents my best effort to make sense of what’s going on in the world today.
Of course I think your theory makes sense. But let’s be clear that it would only apply to the left, not the neocons. The neocons consciously support America and want to spread liberal democracy because they think that liberal democracy is the only solution to the problem and threat of Muslim fundamentalism (a.k.a. Islamism). But of course liberal democracy requires democratic elections, and democratic elections in a Muslim country must result—and over and over have resulted—in rule by Muslim fundamentalists. Yet the neocons still do not perceive this palpable fact. Which means that the neocons are insane.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 24, 2012 10:09 AM | Send
Does anyone have a better explanation?
Yes, one could say that since the neocons are devoted to an ideology of national suicide (see my previous comment), of course they are also unconcerned about America’s self-interest abroad. But the neocons do not consciously seek national suicide. In their minds they are patriots.