At The Financial Times: Gideon Rachman on Syria and proxy wars, a comment by Political Skeptic

Mr. Rachman’s long preachment against proxy wars has caused the editors of The Financial Times to close the comments section to his essay. The readership of this ultra-respectable house organ of Capitalist Apologetics, and it’s traveling companion a buttoned up Conservatism, like to manage the comments section, with due regard for the primacy of bourgeois political respectability, at all costs.

Mr. Rachman focuses his attention on the proxy war in Syria with what might be called a mild scolding to the stakeholders in this conflict:he speaks as the self-appointed voice of political reason to the protagonists. The Ukrainian proxy war gets mentioned twice but is ideologically inconvenient, as Russian revanchism is too closely held a Western Theology to allow anything like political candor. The number of deleted comments is indicative of the level of what? That question will remain an open one.

The last two paragraphs of Mr. Rachman’s essay are a summation worthy of full quotation:

All the nations that have intervened in Syria are motivated, to a large extent, by fear. The Saudis fear the rise of Iran and the Iranians fear the replacement of an allied government in Syria with another hostile Sunni-dominated state. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin — faced with a shrinking economy and a stalemate in Ukraine — wants to prevent further western-sponsored “regime change”. The US feels compelled to respond, lest the Obama administration is once again accused of accepting a decline in US power — a perception that risks becoming self-fulfilling.

All of these nations fear that their weakness will be exposed or accentuated, if their side is seen to “lose” in Syria. All of them seem incapable of acting on their mutual interest in ending a conflict that threatens them all. Until they decide to co-operate, the misery of the Syrian people will continue.

If the recitation of well worn political cliches passes for foreign policy wisdom, Mr. Rachman has articulated it, with the exercise of a fidelity to the current political orthodoxy.

Political Skeptic

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About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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