Charles Malik: The West Is the Problem
Charles Malik was a former president of the UN General Assembly, a former foreign minister of Lebanon, and a professor of philosophy. He was not only a knowledgeable insider in world politics but had the intellect to understand what was happening in a historical perspective. Malik was deeply disappointed by the West's failure to defend Lebanon as --in part and imperfectly-- an outpost of Western civilization in the Middle East. In 1984 he wrote an op ed in the Wall Street Journal where he stated:
For months now the world has been focusing on Lebanon as a problem. The problem is not Lebanon or the importance of Lebanon. The problem is the West. Indeed, the importance of Lebanon is precisely that it raises the problem of the West. Lebanon would never have been a problem if the West itself were not the problem. And the West is not only the problem but also the solution. That is its singular greatness. And the solution is to be true to the deepest value of the West: the primacyof the spirit and the freedom of the soul. [WSJ 3-28-1984]To confirm what Malik wrote, Lee Smith points out how US policy [he refers mainly to the Obama administration] has befriended the Syrian Assad regime despite its many many offenses against the United States and against Americans:
To survive, Damascus needs the world to ignore what it is up to. It particularly needs indifference in Washington, where the Obama administration has seemed sadly oblivious to the fact that what a regime does at home is indicative of how it will act abroad—or, in the case of Syria, a state sponsor of terror and ally of Iran, how it has acted over the last 40 years, targeting especially American citizens, interests, and allies.Smith goes farther. He argues that its position on Syria, since it asked Assad to leave office, does not indicate real opposition to Assad but rather reluctance to see the Assad clan's fall. Smith raises the question of where the Obama administration and the State Dept really stand:
For all that, the administration just wants the Syria issue, the uprising, the opposition, to go away. It would prefer not to deal with it and thus has come up with all sorts of excuses to do just that.
It was five months, and many thousand dead, into the uprising before Obama called on Assad to step down. Instead of leading, the president tasked Syria policy out to Turkey, then to the Arab League, which sent a monitoring delegation led by a former Sudanese intelligence chief suspected of war crimes in Darfur.
Unfortunately, the White House has painted itself into a corner. Because the administration has never really wanted to see Assad fall, it has talked only of stopping the violence . . . , with the unstated provision that once the murders stop, the murderer still rules. . . .The question of where Obama & Co. really stand arises concerning the Iranian nuke bomb project as well. Bear in mind that Iran's ayatollahs are major supporters of the Assad regime and vice versa:
What’s odd is that the White House has let on, through various media surrogates, that it may come to accept the inevitability of the Iranian nuclear program and move toward a policy of containment and deterrence. . . . In its dithering on Syria, the administration shows a lack of seriousness in dealing with Iran. . . .Yet the Assad regime, going back to 1983 at least, has a record of killing offcial Americans as well as American troops in both Lebanon and Iraq:
Under Assad the Damascus airport was a jihadist transport hub from which foreign fighters were either bused directly to the Iraqi border to fight U.S. troops, or warehoused in Syrian prisons until they could be put to some use. Washington knew very well that Syrian intelligence was working with al Qaeda because it had evidence of it in the Sinjar documents, showing that 90 percent of the foreign fighters in Iraq were coming through Syria. When a series of suicide bombings killed hundreds of Iraqis in the fall of 2009, the Obama administration hushed Iraqi officials who pointed a finger at Damascus. In other words, al Qaeda’s position in Syria was a problem U.S. officials were content to ignore when, with the help of Assad’s intelligence agents, the organization was killing American troops and Iraqis. But now the fact that al Qaeda elements, which may still be under the control of Syrian intelligence, are targeting regime installations, is a reason not to support the opposition [here Smith is pointing at Obama administration hypocrisy]. . . . The regime in Damascus that has so much Syrian blood on its hands also, along with its allies in Iran and Hezbollah, has killed many thousands of Americans. In Lebanon, U.S. Marines, diplomats, and intelligence officials were slaughtered by Iranian and Syrian assets; in Iraq, the Syrians and Iranians backed both Sunni and Shia fighters in their war against American troops, leaving almost 5,000 dead and many more thousands wounded [The Weekly Standard, 5 March 2012]So the Assad regime in Syria has been an enemy of the United States and of Americans, including rank and file soldiers plus diplomats and intelligence officials. Yet the Syrian Assad regime was being coddled by the State Dept in the mid-1970s, under Kissinger and since then. The Baker-Hamilton Report drawn up for the Bush 2 administration in about 2006 recommended helping solve all Middle Eastern problems by pressuring Israel to give up the Golan Heights to Assad-ruled Syria. Apparently, Israel's welfare was secondary to Assad regime welfare. Or just how does one explain the situation that Lee Smith describes together with my extending the picture of Washington indulgence of the Assads back to the mid-1970s?