Syria and the Fallacies of the China Model

Published in my short-lived blog: Tharwalizations – Making Sense & Wealth of Difference 

Witnessing the reintroduction of the China Model into the scene of the political discouse surrounding Syria’s future comes as quite an alarming development. The Model was first introduced into the country’s political discourse in early 2000 by some Baath and other leftwing ideologues, but now it is being reintroduced by American right- and leftwing commentators seeking to further their anti-neocon diatribe, or avert blame over the worsening situation in Iraq – after all, it is never too early to begin campaigning for the next elections on behalf of your favorite party.

For, in essence, the Chinese Model is nothing more than a new way for avoiding dealing with the real issue at hand, namely that of ME inborn resilience and resistance to change.

As a concept, the Chinese Model puts economic change and administrative reforms first on the reform agenda in a given country, while postponing the issue of political change to an undisclosed future date. In a country like China, with its 1.2 billion people, this system still leaves us with a 2 million plus ruling elite and a corresponding complex decision-making process that opens some room for some sort of debate to take place, a debate in which quite a few capable minds are involved. As such, there is an off chance here that this Model can indeed work, for China.

but, and within the context of a country like Syria, a country already bled dry of all major brain power and most of its creative minds, the Chinese Model can oly serve to preserve the existing system of sectario-political oppression, and can only pave the way to the type of economic liberalism that can only serve the monopolistic interests of the brothers, brother-in-laws, cousins and other party members and comrades-in-arms. The society, meanwhile, has no other option but to descend into an atavistic hell.

Indeed, this is the unavoidable effect of globalization on small states with an inherently illiberal and authoritarian political culture, a corrupt ruling elite, and populations that, in the absence of good and modern educational systems, continue to be quite susceptible to the mesmerizing allure of a messianic medievalistic ideology.

But change in the region is a must. And change in Syria is now unavoidable. For the processes of its disintegration has already been set in motion, by rulers and external powers alike. To cop out on the responsibilities emanating from this now is not only cowardly, but unwise. If another sectarian mayhem is to be averted, change in the country needs to be properly facilitated and managed, and a anew social contract of sorts that can rebind the country’s various ethnic and confessional groups together needs to be introduced.

Shying away from these responsibilities will only serve to delay what has already been made inevitable, at an almost deliberate pace, and will only make the eventual implosion worse for the entire region, with ramifications that will likely be felt in many other parts of the world. Indeed, failure to intervene at the right time is often more catastrophic than mismanaging the intervention itself, albeit both are equally undesirable.