A Response to an Article on Syria
I read an article on Japan Times online (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120320a1.html), that was originally published in the Washington Post. Here is my response to that article:
This article’s myopic nature is surprising coming from a Harvard Professor. His views on Syria are naive, and indicative of the insulated and out of touch nature of neo-liberal thought. I am going to counter his points, one by one.
1. President Assad’s support structure:
His support actually includes a great majority of the country. His repeated assertion of Assad as a hated dictator are completely inconsistent with the facts. A poll conducted by the Qatar Foundation found that about 55% of the Syrian people approved of Assad’s performance as president. For perspective, neither Obama in the US, or Noda in Japan even come close to that approval rating.
2. It is hard to tell much of what is going on in Syria. This is apparent because of the conflicting, and unsubstantiated nature of the reports from Western media coming out of Syria. It is also hard to get a non-biased view of what is happening in Syria since it seems that much of the news of Syria’s problems are from those intent on advocating intervention in some way.
3. Claims of Syria’s impending civil war are indeed premature to say the least. What is happening is that Islamic terrorists are attempting to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria, with the help of foreign intervention. Countries like the US claim to spread democracy, but their real goal is spreading hegemony. While the US claims it wants democracy and secular government, their actions say otherwise when like Mr.Owen, they advocate the overthrow of a secular government in favor of Sharia law and sectarian violence.
4. Libya is indubitably a horrible model for regime change. The terrorist led opposition is not bringing democracy (ignoring the question of if Libya already had democracy) nor did it bring prosperity. It brought an anarchic state of murder, rape and racist retaliation. Thousands sit in make-shift prisons with inadequate access to food, water, or health care. Militias roam the country with no respect for the rule of law, or human rights. In fact, the country has changed from having the highest human development index in Africa, to being a country torn by war, violence and crime. Their hospitals, schools and infrastructure destroyed; it may take decades before the Libyan people recover from this farce of a liberation.
5. Intervention does not only mean military attack. In recent times, moralistic calls to help “liberate” a country has led to horrific results. Iraq still struggles to return to normal after years of war, and Afghanistan, after 11 years, is still waiting for peace. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in those pointless and useless invasions, yet Mr.Owens still holds them up as examples of successful interventions. I think the world has had about all the interventionist help it can handle for a while. In addition to those sobering facts, we should realize that sanctions will do one thing only, and that is hurt the Syrian people. Even if the government is corrupt and evil to the core, an assumption I would question deeply, the people of Syria would bear the brunt of these actions, not the government. We need to end our addiction to interventionism. We cannot solve all of the world’s problems in every country by starving them, by cutting them off from the global economy, or by pretending their people want what our governments want. Maybe the US would be much better served by focusing on responding to the complaints of its own citizens that it has so brutally suppressed, instead of demonizing the Syrian government for defending itself against, not unarmed protesters, but armed militias aiming to overthrow the state. This is to me, another egregious case of the pot calling the kettle black. It’s time for the western world to start practicing what it preaches, and leave poor countries like Libya and Syria alone.