Friday, April 7, 2017

Four Faults of the Syria Attack

One of my favorite activities on this blog is to take something an action or argument made by liberals and show how it is wrong in multiple dimensions. A thorough rebuttal shows how it was wrong not wrong from the a certain persepective, but from all perspectives. The same analysis can be applied to Trump's recent actions in Syria.

Culpability. We don't know that Assad used chemical weapons. I don't believe he did. It would be beyond stupid to do so. He's finally retaken clearly dominance in a civil war that had his survival in doubt just a year or so ago before Russia intervened. Less than a week prior the US official policy relaxed on demanding regime change in Syria. And we're to believe that he celebrated by doing the one thing that would give Western powers reason to rattle the sabers again? Interesting that this is the second time that Assad was either enormously foolish in using the weapons, or was framed by a false flag convenient to neocon interests. There are too many question marks on this, and for Trump to rush to missiles is brash to say the least.

Responsibility. Even if Assad gassed his own citizens, and that's a big if, so what? Are we supposed to unilaterally attack the Syrians because the Syrians attacked the Syrians? Are we supposed to bomb every country when the rulers are assholes? Assuming universality, then that would imply the Canadians should have bombed US bases after the Waco incident. It's not our job to be policing the world.

Pragmatism. If we've learned anything in the last 15 years it's that the US isn't so good at regime change and nation building. These places tend to end up worse than they were to start with. Let's say Assad really is this vicious monster who uses chemicals weapons on his own people. That's pretty bad. Yet he's still better than any other option. Look at it this way. There are 3 kinds of terrible governments you don't want: fascism, communism, and theological tolatarianism. Let's say the reports are right (they're not) and that Assad is a fascist. If those are the options, then fascism is your best bet. At least under fascism the trains run on time. Communism isn't going to happen in Syria but theological totalitarianism is almost certainly the result if Assad is toppled. And, if ISIS is any indication, that is your worst-case outcome. Assad was treated as a liberator when he booted ISIS from Aleppo. So even if he's bad, he's not ISIS bad.

Uniformity. America sure is worried about the humanitarianism in countries that have strategic value. They're really worried about kids who die along the paths of envisioned oil pipelines. But they don't give a shit about kids anywhere else. If all it takes to get Trump to abandon his campaign promises is to broadcast pictures of dead children, then we're in trouble. Because they're real good at finding pictures of dead children whenever necessary, even if they have to kill the kids themselves to do so. And they're even better at hiding the pictures of dead kids they don't want you to see. If foreign policy is decided by dead kid pictures, then the media are our undisputed rulers.

The Good.
There are a couple perspectives from which the attacks might be looked at less negatively. For one, it absolutely puts to bed this Russia conspiracy bullshit. From that perspective overall it's very bad: US irrationality is so extreme that bombs fall half a world away as a result. But from the perspective of a Trump supporter, it gives some lenience. He had no choice. He was under extreme pressure from the left-wing hysteria to act strongly on the world stage against Russia.

Second, the act itself didnt' amount to a ton. We damaged a single Syrian air base. Before the attacks Scott Adams said something to the tune of, "How do you respond to a fake attack? With a fake response." Perhaps Trump acted in a way that would cause some short-term damage to alleviate long-term disaster. Perhaps this the route that gives Assad the greatest chance for survial. We can't know if Trump believes Assad used chemical weapons, but it seems he does. In either case, if this is an isolated incident to help Trump keep the wolves at bay and strengthen his grip on the deep state, then it will all be forgotten soon enough. What's troubling is the chance that he's turned full neocon already.

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