Syriasly, by James Howard Kunstler

It might be a good idea for the US to get out of country in which we’ve never had a clue what we’re doing. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

“Peace with Honor” was President Nixon’s anodyne phrase for futzing around as long as possible in Vietnam to conceal the reality that the US military was getting its ass kicked by what we had initially thought was a 98-pound weakling of a Third World country. That was a half-century ago and I remember it now at age 106 thanks to my diet of kale and pepperoni sticks. Not ironically, the long struggle finally ended a few years after Nixon quit the scene, with the last straggling American evacuees waiting desperately for helicopter airlifts off the US embassy roof. And now, of course, Vietnam is a tourism hot-spot.

And so just the other day, the latest POTUS declared (in his usual way) that “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” The utterance sent the neocon partisans in government into a paroxysm. Cries of “Say What?” echoed up and down the Great Mall. Which “other people” was Mr. Trump referring to? The United Auto Workers? Gandalf the Grey? The cast of Glee?

I doubt that the average Harvard faculty member can state with any conviction what the fuck is going on in Syria. Vietnam was like a simple game of Animal Lotto compared to the mystifying puzzle of Syria. And then, of course, once you get handle on who the players are, it’s another matter altogether to descry what US interests there might be.

One angle of the story is whether it is in America’s interest for Syria to become another failed state in a region of several other failed states. Whatever else you might say about US policy in that part of the world, the general result in places like Iraq, Libya, and Yemen has been anarchy and irresolvable factional conflict. In today’s world of nation-states, a central government is required to avoid that fate, and the embattled one in Syria happens to be the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The US has long militated for the overthrow of Assad, but I would also challenge you (and the Harvard faculty) to name any credible party or person who we have hypothetically proposed to replace him with.

To continue reading: Syriasly

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