The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

The Street will “wash them away”

When Amb Ford uses this discourse, he contributes to the dangerous and I think false impression that so many armchair strategists – far away from Syria but deeply involved – have been pushing: The sands of time are moving, the wind of history will easily sweep bad people away…. we are on the right side of history and our enemies will almost effortlessly implode.

He says: “I have seen no evidence yet in terms of hard changes on the ground that the Syrian government is willing to reform at anything like the speed demanded by the street protestors. If it doesn’t start moving with far greater alacrity, the street will wash them away.”

I want to restate:

The debate over what to do in regards to Syria marks a critical turning point for Western pundits and policymakers as well for the discipline of international relations in general.

This ideological battle gained particular momentum during the protests following the disputed presidential election in Iran in 2009 and has roughly boiled down to a debate over using limited resources to address underlying grievances (like occupied territory, strategic threats, etc.) or pursuing a less expensive (and politically more comfortable) policy of encouraging various “Green Revolutions” — indigenous wedges — in states that oppose the US.

The great “Green” hope is that the regimes in question would implode a la Communism with a manageable level of pain and suffering

It remains the preferred route for the Neo-LiberalCons when things get hot — especially after the Iraq war soured many on the idea of direct, armed regime change against relatively weak states.

If the Obama administration continues on the path towards an “accelerated collapse” policy, I would submit that we will shortly be facing a definitive, real world test for this battle of approaches.

Should the Syrian regime collapse under growing external pressures with relatively little violence and usher into power a democratically elected government — or even an authoritarian one but whose “behavior” in the region, especially vis-à-vis Israel, is ostensibly “better” — the Neo-LiberalCon approach will become vastly more attractive in western capitals and among various publics.

I obviously don’t think this is likely — which is why democracy advocates, I believe, need to vigorously encourage – demand – a conversation about alternative approaches immediately.

One thing, of course, is absolutely certain, and it is important to consider very carefully: once again, it is the people of the region who are going to bear the overwhelming balance of yet another Great Power gamble.


Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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