Syrian Fantasies, Pundit Fantasies
November 28, 2014
Below is a link to an article by Robert Parry entitled “Official Washington’s Syrian ‘Fantasy.’” In that piece, Parry argues that official Washington, including President Obama, are basing their policies in Syria on the fantasy that there are “moderate” opponents to the Assad regime who, if properly funded and supplied, would be able to defeat both the radical opponents of the Assad regime and that regime itself. As Parry points out, even such an observer as David Ignatius knows that these alleged “moderates” are hard to find, to say nothing of being able to defeat the radicals and the Assad regime.
While I agree with Parry’s argument about the alleged “moderates” the current US strategy is based on, it seems to me that his take on all of this is also fantastic or “fantasy based.” First, Parry, like so many others, paints President Obama as reluctantly going along with what Parry labels the “neo-cnservative” strategy of seeking regime change in Syria, even if it means embracing the fantasy that there are alleged “moderates” worth supporting. To wit:
“Though Obama may be a closet “realist” who would favor such a compromise approach, he has consistently lacked the political courage or the geopolitical foresight to impose this kind of solution on the powers-that-be in Washington. Any suggestion of collaboration with Russia and Iran or acquiescence to continued rule by Assad would touch off a firestorm of outrage in Congress and the mainstream U.S. media.”
Well, while Parry might be correct, it could be that Obama is not “a closet ‘realist’” at all; it could be that he is actually a “realist,” that is, in the mode of the neo-cons. In other words, it could be that Obama isn’t just going along, reluctantly, with the neo-con strategy but has embraced it because he agrees with it. And he agrees with it because he is, at bottom, a status quo president, looking to maintain and fortify the current ruling class.
And this brings me to a second observation: From the perspective of the current ruling class, there is little that is fantastic about their policy toward Syria and those opposed to the Assad regime. The goal is to create regime change in Syria, and any and all means will be embraced to accomplish this. This change will undermine Iran’s power as well as the power of Russia, while also further securing Israel, who of course and very tellingly stays out of the alleged war against ISIS or Assad’s Syria. The fantasy of their being “moderates” we can support is, as Parry notes, for the public’s consumption, the current version of those WMDs that Saddam allegedly possessed.
What strikes me is the question: How many times can the ruling class play this game before enough people catch on to make this game unplayable? My answer is: As often as they want to play it, until someone with power, with the status of a player steps up and calls a spade a spade. Will that happen? I don’t think so, at least not in the current “climate” as controlled by the ruling class. Even the picture of Obama, the one embraced even by Parry, as being reluctantly but consistently dragged along into a “realistic” – read “militaristic” – foreign policy serves to control the climate by making it seem that there is no alternative, at least no viable alternative to such a policy. And by making it seem that he is being dragged along, Obama and the ruling class maintain and fortify the status quo by making it appear as the only viable way to be politically.
And the really troubling thing, at least for me, is that the ruling class actually believes this. They cannot conceive of another way of being politically and so have trapped themselves – and us - in a way that perpetuates war and terrorism. As an older movie title had it: There is “No Way Out.”