Somehow, Daniel Pipes must have come to the conclusion that there are bad terrorists and worse terrorists, so we should be friends with the bad ones.
Last month, Pipes shifted his recommendation of neutrality in the Syrian civil war to a policy of actively supporting the Assad government as they are the weaker party in the conflict of evil against evil. The basis for his recommendation is that it is in the US interest for the conflict to continue if it is nicely limited to a civilized dispute of one group of bad guys killing another group of bad guys.
Ironically, the terrorist have previously claimed that the US support for local bad regimes is the reason that the regimes do not fall in the face of internal opposition. This was the cited justification for taking local conflicts within a country to an international stage and attacking Americans. While I disagree with such claimed “facts” and justification, Pipes is arguing that American policy should be to actively protect evil regimes from their more evil internal enemies.
I have to ask…what US interests are at stake in Syria? Is Pipes’ recommendation to prolong the Syrian civil war by aiding the Assad regime consistent with protecting those interests? Pipes claims Realpolitik, and I call bullshit; specifically Pipes’ shift is unprincipled Pragmatist bullshit.
Do not get me wrong, I am no anti-American libertarian pacifist. If it was in the US interest to do so, then I would be calling for a Sheridan style campaign (see the Shenandoah Valley and pacification of the West). Instead I am looking at fundamentals, “what are our specific relevant interests” and “do Pipes’ policies protect those interests”.
I see that relevant interests include protecting the US and our allies from terrorism, containing WMDs, and stabilizing the Middle East to protect the free flow of oil, which principally benefits our allies and is related to our post WWII anti-colonial policy. I do not see those interests protected by supporting Assad nor by supporting the anti-Assad forces nor by encouraging ongoing civil war.
Instead, we need to find different and better alternatives that will allow the US to selfishly pursue our interests.
As an option, I suggest that the US could seek the political partition of Syria as it is a failed state that can only maintain itself through dictatorship and international intrigues. The post-Syria pieces will be a mix of better and worse with the potential for improvement from dictatorship or continuing localized warfare (as Pipes’ recommends), but such would be the post-Syrians choice to pursue life or death.
Further, I do not object to material aid from the US to Assad’s Syria if such is the result of (1) officially ending Syria’s state sponsorship of terrorism, (2) Syria surrendering their WMDs stockpiles and capacity, and (3) Syria ending their alliance with Iran. This would be similar to bipartisan and multi-administration efforts to turn Libya. In contrast, Pipes advises giving Assad’s Syria support without addressing any of Syria’s threats to US interests.
Seeing two choices in Syria, Pipes has jumped off the fence to choose a side. In contrast, the US should identify and pursue other options that actually focus on advancing American interests. Unfortunately, America chose twice to leave our presidency vacant by electing Obama, when we actually need a real president who will led from the front in pursuing our selfish American interests.