A Cold Civil War!

(A recent intervention in an electronic debate)


I cannot pretend to know as much about US politics as many of my esteemed colleagues these days, but the whole debate over using the Syrian Crisis for a potential wagging of dogs, lions and lion-cubs seem quite problematic to me for the following reasons: 


Under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad the Syrian regime became even more overtly corrupt and inept. Moreover it has studiously adopted certain confrontational policies with the US that cannot be explained on the basis of a conflict of interest, but on the basis of the amateurishness and downright stupidity of the Syrian President and his advisors.

As such, this regime is going to pose serious challenges to the intellectual and administrative abilities of any US administration, regardless of whether it is made up of neo-cons, “cons,” “ex-cons,” liberals, neo-liberals, card-carrying members of the ACLU, libertarians, and/or Ku Klux Klan members.

The regime is simply irreformable, the civil society cannot pose any serious threats to it, there are no capable leaders involved on any level, there are no capable technocrats worthy of name that occupy important positions that actually influence the decision-making process in the hierarchy of the regime, there are no visions or visionaries. Should the regime collapse, Syria, barring a miracle, has the potential of turning into an ethnic and sectarian quagmire that will make Iraq and Lebanon in the heyday of its civil war look like a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon with black-eyed maidens and eternal youths strutting and prancing all over the place.

Isolate the regime and the Syrian people will suffer all too publicly. How inconvenient!

This brings us to the second point:

While neocons and liberals, or however one categorizes one at this stage, argue over wagging dogs and other fine assortments of beasts and monsters, and while the debate over the merits of real politick vs. salvation politics rages on, there are parts of the world that are going to hell in a hand-basket, reflecting the new cold war climate created by this internal debate. It looks as if America is having a nice cold civil war by proxy over its own identity and future.

The ideological components of this war might be taking place in the halls of academia and the congress and through US and international media, but the physical aspect is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. Each camp here is producing, wittingly and unwittingly, its own allies there, both ideological and tactical. And like in all proxy wars, these allies are quite capable of furthering their own particularistic agendas by stoking the debate here.

The point:

Well, despite the seemingly irresolvable challenge that a presence like the Syrian regime seems to pose, in truth, solutions can actually be found. But first, this new American civil war, no matter how cold it happens to be at this stage, has to come to an end. Otherwise the war on terror can never be won and Iraq will be followed by Syria, then Lebanon then Sudan, then Saudi Arabia, then… You get the point.

A word to the wise from someone who has his own agenda to further and pursue, one that is likely to inspire some debate at one point or another, I reckon.

3 thoughts on “A Cold Civil War!

  1. Well.. The cold war was two groups, only one ‘capable’ of truely surviving it, staring at each other and beating their chests. One because they knew they where powerful, the other because they where the human equivalent of a Chiwawa. All bark and bluster, but no real bite (unless you counted the case of rabies, in the form of nukes, that both had).The current conflict of ideology in the US is between those that make everythign go Bing! and those that think if they pray hard enough things will still go Bing! and the third group who thinks things go Bing!, *because* venus is in decline over their fairy godmother, who is coincidentally talking to ghosts on her off hours, while wearing a lab coat and washing bottles in a genetics lab.The later group scares the hell out of me almost more than the far right. Both the far right and left suffer the delusion that the universe works by ‘their’ rules, not its own. The only major difference of opinion between them is that the far left thinks rules from a dusty old book, instead of based on their own bizarre and convoluted misunderstanding of science, psychology, philosophy, etc. is pure BS. The right calls this ‘moral relativism’… The right on the other hand claim ‘moral absolutes’, only having spent an hour ramming their ancient book down your throat, proceed to completely ignore all its rules, even the ones they insist are not metaphorical, in order to get what they want.Then there are the majority semi-religious, who only identify with the right when confronted with non-believers, the athiests, the agnostics, etc., who think both sides are completely nuts. The right knows this and attacks us based on ‘non-belief’, the left does the same. That its our refusal to believe in the right’s devine destiny to screw us vs. the lefts insistence that leprechauns really do polish their shoes every night, doesn’t change the fact that the far right and left hate those of us that invent the shit they depend on to piss on us with almost as much as each other.Maybe the only universal rules are a) ME version: if you don’t mind never progressing, kill everyone that says, “But it doesn’t work that way!” or b) Progressive version: “First step in making sure civilization doesn’t collapse back to using sticks with rocks tied to them: Shoot all the priests.”We tried the (a) version and got tired of it. We tried the middle ground approach and got Bush vs. the loony left. I say we now try the third option… ;)Well, not really. Its only fundimentalism on one side, combined with vast ignorance on the other, that causes this idiocy. But some moments I really wish it was that simple.

  2. It seems to me that the presidency of Bashar al-Assad has become a variant of the Peter Principle. He is a man who has reached his first level of incompetence. Unlike a similar person in a private organization, he cannot be shunted aside by the methods that Prof. Laurence Peter sets forth in his landmark book, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Go Wrong”, which he wrote together with Raymond Hull. Because he is incompetent as a national leader–I cannot assess his competence as an ophthalmologist–others around him must, in essence, assume his responsibilities and powers as head of state. The result, as we all know, is bad for Syria, for the Middle East, and perhaps, ultimately, for the world at large.It is heart-rending that things in Syria have turned out as they did. Potentially, Syria is a wealthy country in natural and human resources, which, if used in a positive way, could make your country a great contributor to humanity’s knowledge and general good, as it has been in historical times.Keep up the good work!

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