Friday, July 28, 2006
The definition of insanity...
Syria is a case in point. It has now, by endless public repetition, become a received wisdom that Syria must be behind everything that goes wrong in the region, is hand in glove with its soul-mate Iran to foment anti-Israeli and anti-Western terror, and is an evil regime presided over by a despotic dictator. Syria, goes the convenient narrative, is trouble. Capital B Bad. The best thing for the War on Terror and the mission to bring democracy to the oppressed would be to oust President Assad and his government. A democratically elected government would then make peace with Israel, be a compliant partner to Western interests in the region, and give its people their proper rights. Until that happens, stringent sanctions will encourage the Syrian people to demand change from within.
If this all starts to sound word for word like the "successful" Iraq scenario all over again, that is because the same criminally simplistic black-and-white analysis is at work, and much the same appalling consequences would be likely. Right now, Syria can be a substantial part of the long-term solution for the region, and it would be reassuring to hear Bush, Blair, Rice and Bolton acknowledge this. Small chance. Instead, the West’s words and actions are already starting to increase the influence of the region's religious extremists and political hard-liners who between them would make Syria a very real problem indeed.
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