Comments and Analysis from John Robertson on the Middle East, Central Asia, and U.S. Policy
Friday, May 13, 2011
The US's "Interests" in Syria
Dennis Ross acolyte Aaron David Miller has a very perceptive piece at Foreign Policy that explains why Mr. Obama is intent on smashing Qaddafi in Libya, but has taken a relatively hands-off approach to Syria. As he notes,
Great powers behave inconsistently -- even hypocritically -- depending on their interests. That's not unusual; it's part of the job description. In fact, in responding to the forces of change and repression loosed throughout the Arab world, flexibility is more important than ideological rigidity.
The last thing America needs is a doctrine or ideological template to govern how it responds to fast-breaking changes in a dozen Arab countries, all of which are strikingly different in their respective circumstances.
Miller goes on to list many of the down-sides evidently inherent in the fall of Bashar al-Asad, but makes no mention whatsoever of the down-side that likely weighs most heavily on the minds of many in the State Department, and certainly on the minds of denizens of Congress: for Israel, Asad is a known entity, a force for the pre-Arab Spring status quo. Democracy, human rights, popular self-determination - all of them avowedly American, and allegedly Israeli, values - are secondary compared to that all-important "stability."