Gideon Rachman writes a Black Comedy. Political Observer comments


We are all Stalinists on Syria

From this utterly preposterous headline, then Mr. Rachman reduces the War raging across ‘The Middle East’ to a public relations problem: A Hideous Black Comedy!

Western politicians must somehow try to frame a policy towards Syria that takes account of these unpredictable oscillations in public sentiment, between indifference and occasional surges of anguish. Those leaders who have based policy around an assumption that their voters’ compassion would be sustained over many months have generally been punished.

It isn’t as if Europe, long before the Sykes–Picot exercise in Imperialism, wasn’t guilty of the horrendous crimes of colonialism, over time.  That is irrelevant to the Rachman strategy,which in sum is an explanation of the Merkel/Obama Conundrum, in its domestic political context. But by some act of rhetorical will Merkel almost disappears from the argument. What is left is an Obama who opines to Jeffrey Goldberg about  “the world is a tough, complicated, messy mean place, and full of hardship and tragedy”. Fatalism wedded to self-serving cynicism, perhaps the hallmark of the last few months of the Obama Administration? Mr. Rachman himself exercises that very fatalism/cynicism in his final sentence:

The conclusion is bleak: to sustain liberal politics at home, western politicians may have to tolerate outrages against liberal values overseas.

Political Observer

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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