Thursday, February 09, 2006

Republicans Question their Syria Policy

Some republicans are beginning to question the present US campaign to focus Middle East policy on Syria. Here is what one reader said about Paul Roberts recent article lambasting Bolton and his party's policy.

I never thought I'd see "Human Events," one of the most well-known and respected conservative publications that is required reading for any die-hard Republican, publish a quasi pro-Syria piece. The below article, from January 27, was written by Paul Roberts, a former Wall Street Journal opinion editor and Reagan Administration official, and at times seems to quote Syrian Baathist propaganda, for example: "Syria was never in Lebanon as a conqueror or invader, as the United States is in Iraq and Israel is in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Syria was invited into Lebanon by the Lebanese government for peacekeeping purposes...

U.S Orders Syria to Do the Impossible
by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted Jan 27, 2006

Is there a person anywhere in the world who still thinks there is an ounce of sanity in the Bush administration? If so, let that person read John Bolton's orders to Syria in the Jan. 24 online edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Bolton is Bush's unconfirmed ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton, a neoconservative warmonger, has managed to get the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 23 to instruct Syria to disband and disarm the Lebanese militias. Bolton says, "I hope in Damascus they read it very carefully and then comply."

How is Syria to meet this demand?

Last year, Syria complied with U.S. demands to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. As Syria has no military presence in Lebanon, it could not disarm a local police force, much less the Shia militias that defeated the Israeli army and drove it out of Lebanon, and that have representatives in the Lebanese parliament.

After three years and unimaginable expense, the superpower American military has proved that it cannot disarm the recently formed Iraqi militias. Yet the idiot Bolton thinks puny Syria can disarm the Lebanese militias that defeated the brutal Israeli army!

Syria was never in Lebanon as a conqueror or invader, as the United States is in Iraq and Israel is in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Syria was invited into Lebanon by the Lebanese government for peacekeeping purposes, adding the weight of its military to indigenous militias in order to create stability where U.S., Palestinian and Israeli bungling had brought disorder and massive bloodshed.

Until they were withdrawn, the Syrian troops were a counterweight to the Shia militias. Now that the Shia crescent is spreading from Iran through Iraq to Lebanon, the stupid neoconservatives are confronted with the error of their ways. The Bush administration was trying to set Syria up for U.S. attack by demanding that it withdraw from Lebanon. The neocons thought Syria would refuse and thereby become a target for demonization and invasion.

Alas, the Syrians departed. And now the problem is how to turn back the Shia advance, which is increasing in power inside Lebanon as well through the Hizbullah and Amal movements. Bolton's solution is a ridiculous attempt to turn Syria into a neocon proxy and set it at war with the militias. Otherwise, Bolton intends to damn Syria for "noncompliance" and again threaten Syria with U.S. invasion.

It will be interesting to see whom Syria fears most, the militias that triumphed over Israeli military might or the U.S. forces that have been defeated in Iraq.

Mr. Roberts was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page from 1978 to 1980, and from 1981 to 1982, he was assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy.


At 2/09/2006 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

This article is a bit old but i would never have guessed a die-hard republican wrote it.


At 2/09/2006 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Lebanese Pride said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/09/2006 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Are you serious!? Tsk tsk tsk...

At 2/09/2006 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Hmmm. I wonder what Edward Walker thinks. You pulled a quote of his recently from 2003 (!). The link above is more recent.

At 2/09/2006 01:55:00 PM, Blogger 10452 said...

Republicans question Syrian policy? My god Landis how far will you go? So Roberts is now "Republicans"?

How long did it take you to scour the internet to find this article to defend your cause?

And you could have picked something more recent!

At 2/09/2006 02:03:00 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Professor Landis,

Paul Craig Roberts is not exactly a typical Republican. He's antiwar conservative, or what maintream conservatives would call a "paleoconservative". While his viewpoints are perfectly respectable, they are about as atypical of Republicans as Michael Totten's (the hawkisk liberal blogger) are atypical of Democrats.

At 2/09/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I won't even comment that article, it's such a piece of the 's' word (be civil, be civil).

At 2/09/2006 06:19:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Thank you Peter, I was indeed wondering if this couldn't be the work of a paleoconservative.

Unfortunately, Joshua Landis forgets to mention that there's more gay republicans than paleoconservative republicans these days. Paleoconservatives won't save Bashar from his fate.


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