FLORIDA, May 15, 2012 — Earlier this year, I wrote that taking sides in the Syrian uprising makes no more sense than favoring the SS over the SA.
Since the revolt began in early 2011, the international media have generally supported the rebels over President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited his office nearly twelve years ago following the death of his infamous father.
More than a few journalists and advocates — who are all too frequently one and the same — believe that the rebels have an unquestionable right to be liberated; if only these citizen soldiers could topple the establishment, then the sun would surely shine more than a bit brighter.
This particularly confusing strain of ideology appears to be the result of two things. The first is, in the broadest sense of the term, immaturity. The second is not necessarily of a negative nature, though when applied in certain situations it can be nothing other than.
What could that possibly be? Simply put: exporting a political system of, by, and for the people.
Before anyone accuses me of being a totalitarian sympathizer, please consider that the people in question are the essential subject here. Do they honestly want a liberal democracy? After generations of oppression under various tyrants, can they even conceive of what such a thing entails?
In historical terms, the al-Assad family regime could aptly be compared to a contemporary version of the SS. It is organized, well trained for handling crises, and backed by virtually unlimited funding. The protesters, meanwhile, are Arab descendants of the SA. They are a rudderless group, anything but trained soldiers, and either short on or operating without cash.
The al-Assad forces offer governmental stability, something always needed in the Middle East. The protesters offer citizen activism, something that always leads to horrible chaos in their region. The status quo promises moderately secular rule with various Jihadist factions kept under strict containment.
The rebels have no known plan of government.
Nonetheless, the neo-SS and its neo-SA counterpart share one thing in common: strong opposition to Israel. Neither would like to see the technologically progressive, comparatively affluent, and stridently functioning state remain in existence. Because Israel is the West’s only plausible ally in the Mideast, both factions have absolutely nothing positive to offer the free world.
However, they are teaching the free world this: Stop trying. Stop trying to impose progressive ideals on traditional populations. Stop trying to make individual rights and liberties desirable to men and women who reflexively despise such things as a result of lifelong conditioning.
Most of all, stop trying to create an illusion in which millions stuck in medieval times suddenly want to join the twenty-first century. Stop. Do not waste time or money on such pipe dreams.
What is occurring in Syria is a patently Syrian matter. It is not the international community’s fight, so why should its leading powers intervene? Let Syria solve its own problems, one way or the other. In the end, the chips will fall where they may, but Western society should emerge unscathed.
Keeping in mind its recent foreign policy follies, especially as these concern American interests, can we honestly ask for anything more?
Much of this article was first published as Syrian Uprising Dilemma: The SS or the SA? on Blogcritics.org
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