For those who like nuanced analyses of the war in Syria, this writer is your man. I’ve read his piece three times, suffering severe bouts of indigestion with every reading.
Recently I was sent a long theoretical defense of Assad’s regime & Russian intervention which in several pages never actually talked about Syria but applied a formula strapped together by quotes about colonialism & imperialism. It was a mockery of political analysis because the writer never bothered to inform himself about what is going on in Syria.
The writer of this screed, a prominent American academic, is supposed to be an authority on Syria & has in the past written articles that are even coherent on the question of Assad’s dictatorship. Unlike this nuanced piece of rubbish.
This article typifies the theoretical degeneration of progressives which is debilitating the socialist, antiwar, & Palestine Solidarity movements.
Its incoherence problem isn’t the academic-speak but the political retreat it’s trying to mask in double-talk. Activists & academic apologists don’t want to say outright that they support Assad’s dictatorship or cheer on Russian bombing or have shamelessly caved to Muslim-hating war propaganda about “head choppers, child decapitators, & eaters of human organs.”
So they write this kind of crap which when boiled down is not what it claims; it is not an attempt to reconcile what he calls conflicting narratives. It is not an attempt to have it both ways. He is calling on activists not just to equivocate or be neutral but to capitulate to Assad’s dictatorship & betray the popular revolution against him. He doesn’t say that outright because then he’d face sharp criticism. So he writes in gibberish.
Our man is over his head here. He apparently doesn’t understand the titanic clash of social forces in Syria. He doesn’t understand revolution against dictatorship or the character of militarism. There can be no reconciliation between Assad & the revolution. Assad will either be defeated or he will unleash a counterrevolution. That is what is going on in Syria.
The only principled position to build a movement around is the immediate cessation of Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all military forces, overt & covert, air & land. The responsibility of solidarity activists is to clear the field so that Syrians can settle their differences with Assad & his supporters because for all the contending forces neutrality is not an option. Not after 400,000 killed & 4 million refugees.
Those who want a more nuanced review of this article can write it themselves. I’m still suffering indigestion.