Recognizing Disaster: Please, Mr. President, Don’t Intervene in Syria
December 14, 2012
When it comes to the grueling civil war in Syria, it's been a while since the relevant question was whether the regime of Bashar Assad would fall. It's only a matter of time until it does. The more pressing policy choice has been whether the United States would actively hasten its demise.
Inside Syria’s Fracturing Rebellion
August 30, 2012
JEBEL ZAWIYA, SYRIA—The unglamorous municipal building, on which black daubs evince graffiti wars between the regime (“Bashar Assad or the country burns!”) and the opposition (“Leave, oh Bashar!”) did not look fit for a king. But it was immediately obvious when the man in the pressed green khakis strode in that we were in the presence of a leader. Men who had been sitting around in the room chatting fell silent. The leather chair behind the desk was seamlessly vacated.
The Strange Pop Culture Tastes of Dictators
March 16, 2012
One of the most prurient aspects of reading the personal emails written to and by Bashar al Assad that were obtained by The Guardian has been the chance to observe the dictator’s strange shopping habits on iTunes. Apparently, the Syrian dictator is a big fan of contemporary party music. But Bashar is far from the first dictator to have a strange relationship with pop culture.
Meet the Cynical Western Companies Helping the Syrian Regime
March 15, 2012
Late last year, as the regime of Bashar Assad was continuing its murderous rampage against the people of Syria, the governments of Iran and Russia offered their diplomatic support. But Bashar also received significant practical assistance from a much more unlikely ally: an Italian surveillance firm by the name of Area SpA. Throughout all of 2011, employees of that company were being flown to Damascus to direct Syrian intelligence officers in the installation of a computer system that would allow the Syrian government to scan and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country.
Intervention In Syria is a Moral and Human Imperative
February 24, 2012
This is a contribution to ‘What Should the United States Do About Syria?: A TNR Symposium.’ This symposium was convened to consider the question of what the United States should do about the crisis in Syria. And yet, most of the contributions have been about a narrower concern: what the U.S. can do. It is a sign that uppermost in the minds of most Americans are the limits of American power. Certainly they are uppermost in President Obama’s mind. But what I can’t stop thinking about are the consequences of allowing the Assad regime to prevail in Syria.
Why Libya Isn’t a Model for Syria
February 14, 2012
February 08, 2012
When the sordid Sergey Lavrov demanded to know “the endgame” of the Security Council’s attempt to interfere with Bashar Assad’s atrocities against his people, Hillary Clinton replied that “the endgame in the absence of us acting together as the international community, I fear, is civil war.” According to many press accounts, there is already a civil war in Syria.
A Soccer Riot in Egypt and the Ongoing Human Catastrophe in Syria
February 05, 2012
I know that soccer can engage and enrage the senses. And doubtless there have been other occasions when sports fans have killed and been killed in the frenzy of a game … or after. In Boston seven years ago, after a Red Sox win over the Yankees that clinched the American League pennant and was being celebrated in the streets, a 21-year old college student was killed and 16 others were wounded by police trying to control the crowds.
One Year Later: The Failure of the Arab Spring
January 24, 2012
I. A year has passed since liberal America and the liberal opinion class, in particular, went ecstatic over the Arab debut into the modern world. I know that my standing in that class is suspect. So, being a bit flummoxed myself by the not altogether dissimilar developments in the vast expanse from the Maghreb to Mesopotamia, I conquered my doubts and made a slight stab for hope. But I quickly realized that I was wrong and left the celebration.
How Obama Is Mishandling the Violence Wracking the Muslim World
December 12, 2011
This is a subject about which we’re not supposed to speak. Or write. Well, I suppose we can allude. But not in detail. So, even though bloodletting is a daily occurrence in the orbit of Islam, discussing it is forbidden. At least among the sensitive, the sensitive left most notably. By which I mean, firstly, folk who think of themselves as universal souls but see others, Americans and Brits, French and Germans, Italians and Dutch, also the bulk of English speakers wherever they are, as retrograde. Patriots, for God’s sake, patriotism being not only a dirty concept but a dirty word.