Fareed Zakaria plagiarizer is big in America primarily because of his reliably banal, unoriginal brain. This “gift” is a prerequisite for maintaining the establishment’s status quo. Or, as Jeff Tucker calls it, the “statist quo.”
The equally uncontroversial WaPo—they passed on the Edward-Snowden scoop—has seen fit to feature Zakaria’s hardly scholarly “analysis” of Syria. (Try Efraim Karsh, Professor of Mediterranean Studies at the University of London. The late, anti-imperialist scholar Elie Kedourie was especially interesting.)
It’s hard to know where to begin to dissect Zakaria’s tired stuff. Zakaria Second-Hander reproduces the old colonialism canard, according to which the sorry state of the Middles-East (and Africa) are blamed (by leftists of the liberal and libertarian variety) on borders drawn by colonial forces “along ahistorical lines.”
Wait a sec, didn’t Shaka Zulu consolidate his empire and commit genocide against the region’s tribes before British penetration proper into South Africa?
Zakaria also assumes (like an ass) that dominant minorities have arisen in the Middle-Eat due to … colonialism’s inorganic border-drawing (that’s my descriptive, in case Fareed finds something worth …borrowing, sans citation).
You’d be better advised to read Amy Chua’s remarkable work on market-dominating minorities (or, as she calls them in chinglese “market-dominant minorities”).
Much more than Zakaria’s idiocy, Steve Sailer’s brief observation about the Alawites will tell you something about why they came to dominate (intelligence? Emphasis is mine):
“The Alawites are another complex ethnicity with deep roots. They are despised by the Sunni majority as not being true Muslims. (Alawites are said to celebrate Christmas and Easter.) When the French took control from the Ottomans after WWI, most of the Sunnis shunned joining the colonial security forces. But after centuries of Sunni oppression, the Alawites thought that getting paid by European experts to use guns and push Sunnis around was a great idea.”
And here’s tired Zakaria via the WaPo:
He compares Syria’s war to the 15-year civil war in Lebanon and the war that erupted in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. In both cases, the wars were as much about vicious competition between sectarian groups as they were about the decisions of military and political leaders. In both cases, power ended up shifting from minority to majority sects. In both cases, civilians were massacred, and minorities suffered terribly. The difference, perhaps, is that the United States took heavy losses in Iraq but stayed out of Lebanon.
His case, then, is that Syria’s war is not something that the United Stated can stop or alter. Zakaria has no illusions about the pain and terror of Lebanon’s civil war but says that the United States was right not to involve itself. (He also points out that Reagan’s decision to bow out in 1984 did not exactly destroy American credibility in the region.) He points to the war in Iraq; even though the United States toppled Iraq’s minority dictator and quickly moved power over to a government that represented the broader population, that did not prevent hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the formation of many civilian militias that did terrible things and the infiltration by al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. In this thinking, intervening in Syria will not stop the war’s violence, which is after all more about competing sects than it is about the decisions of one leader. …
UPDATE I: An interesting take on Syria from Jack Kerwick, except that it is predicated on a notion I have a hard time accepting: Obama is NOT an ass with ears, but is quite smart. Moreover, the country doesn’t care about BHO’s strategy. For the first time in a long time, the people are against war. They don’t care about political posturing. Wow. Just wow. I’m so happy.
UPDATE II (9/7): Personally I think Jack here outthinks BHO. The Libya case, which all new antiwar-warriors are ignoring, is textbook as far as BHO’s Syria MO goes, is it not? In other words, Obama did exactly what he is doing now in the case of Libya, except that there he ignored Congress.