Pat Buchanan argues here that we shouldn’t intervene in Syria to help prevent massacres there.
Whatever one thinks of the merits of his arguments, I have a different way of looking at the situation. It shows how pathetic current progressive thinking is. Consider the following:
1. The current regime in Syria was one that liberals and leftists wanted us to reach out to. The idea seemed to be that since it was hostile to America, it must somehow be worth pursuing, perhaps in the belief that it was not ruled by an American puppet and so must be genuinely loved by the people. No one would think that now.
2. Along similar lines, their support for the Syrian regime shows the bankruptcy of progressive foreign policy. Progressives are always complaining about America’s foreign policy, even to the extent of apologizing for it to the rest of the world, explaining that they didn’t vote for Bush (or Reagan or whichever Republican was the object of their contempt), and so on. Yet, their own foreign policy is even worse. We supported Mubarak, who was gone fairly quickly once the Arab spring began, while progressives have supported Gadhafi and Assad, both of whom have been far more brutal towards their own people than Mubarak was.
3. Syria’s many massacres of its own people make the progressives’ fixation on Israeli oppression look wholly absurd and biased against Israel. Despite the so-called oppression that Israel engages in, Israel has never treated the Palestinians as badly as the Assad regime is treating the opposition. Syria’s actions confirm the response made by Netanyahu that Israel acts the way it does because it lives in a rough neighborhood. It’s just hard to take Palestinian whining very seriously after this.
4. The longer the massacres go on, the more the left looks bad for not demanding intervention. The left always complains when neo-conservatives want to intervene. They talk about the horrors of war, the slaughter of innocents, the children killed, and so on. What they don’t do is talk about how these things can happen even if we don’t intervene. Not intervening seems a lot like not intervening in a case of domestic violence.
5. The ineffectuality of progressives’ preferred solutions, such as diplomacy and going through the UN, isn’t to the left’s credit, either. Those solutions just haven’t worked. Whatever the outcome is in Syria, it will occur through the use of force.
6. The call for a new beginning of relations between the Muslim world and America looks pathetic and out of touch with reality when one part of it is massacring another part. The implication was that America was at fault for bad things happening to Muslims, but when one sees the brutality of Muslim killing Muslim, our own share of the blame should be re-assessed. We were merely doing the best we could in a region fraught with high passions that easily break out into vicious sectarianism.
So, whether we intervene in Syria or not, celebrate its current miserable conditions as a powerful indictment against leftist thinking on foreign affairs in the Middle East.