The Mideastwire Blog

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

The Schizophrenic Discourse of the Syrian Regime’s Inevitable Fall

Over the last year, one of the most corrosive tropes for policymakers, journalists, analysts and others on Syria has been the idea that the regime’s fall is inevitable – as if endowed by the just laws of History.

(Of course the regime might fall, and soon, but it is by no means inevitable!)

This trope was, sadly, pushed early on by smart, responsible groups like ICG that are committed to non-war policy options as well as, of course, the Neo-LiberalCons.

It was, and remains, problematic both on moral grounds – since it raised the expectations of the syrian oppositions about the stance of anti-regime actors and the status of the regime itself – and on strategic grounds since it lessened the need, logically, to look for policy alternatives in case THE REGIME DOES NOT FALL.

This WINEP piece by Patrick Clawson is one of literally hundreds of such pieces where the contradiction WITHIN the piece itself is so glaring, and yet, totally unresolved by the writer:

He says first: “…The U.S. call for Asad’s overthrow may provide an opportunity for Washington to claim credit for something that is going to happen anyway; in geopolitics, it is always good to be credited for making the sun rise in the east…”

But then, in another flash, he says: “…Were Asad to muddle through, Washington would face some difficult quandaries. So long as Asad is in power, it will be hard to walk back the sanctions imposed on Syria, yet it will be difficult to sustain economic and political isolation of the Asad regime if that government looks like it will be in power for the foreseeable future. If that isolation lessens, then the United States and its allies will look like they lost a confrontation with Asad, which would reduce their perceived clout. Asad’s overthrow is by no means assured…”


— This is the dominant, in fact almost the only, discourse in Western policy circles (Hard interventionists vs. Soft interventionists who all agree on the INEVITABILITY thesis)… Little wonder the approach is facing such difficulties – ones which were obvious very early on if one cared to look a but more closely.


Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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