Friday, April 09, 2021

Is being anti-war, imperialist?


An essay by Diana Johnstone reflects much of the analysis of this blog in the early days of Syria's "Arab Spring". It is well worth quoting the author's observations.

"No promising event has more fully failed to keep its promise than the optimistically named Arab Spring.  Ten years ago, massive protest demonstrations that began in Tunisia and moved quickly to Egypt were hailed as the harbinger of democracy overtaking the Middle East in one great swoop of history.

It didn’t go that way. The result has been demoralization in Tunisia, enforced military rule in Egypt, the destruction of Libya as a viable nation, endless war and famine in Yemen, Syria in ruins, and not a scratch on the most autocratic nations in the region, starting with Saudi Arabia and Qatar..."

"...As the prospect of such social revolution in the West has faded, Western revolutionaries have turned to hailing any movement against existing non-Western states as revolutionary, progressive, if not socialist, then at least “democratic.”..."

"...Franco-Lebanese academic Gilbert Achcar led the drive to gather over 300 supporting signatories from numerous countries.   The gist of the message was to condemn American and other Western independent anti-war writers for failing to support the Syrian revolution that never happened.    

Because indeed, the democratic Syrian revolution with which those exiles identify did not happen. Demonstrations and repression do not make a revolution.  Those triggering events in early 2011 were rapidly hijacked by armed rebels supported by a range of outside powers aspiring to use the disorder to break Syria into pieces — a long-term policy aim of Israel which does not meet with opposition from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey… or their friends in Washington.  The Arab nationalist regime in Syria had been on their hit-list for decades...They accuse the anti-war writers of supporting Assad and “dehumanizing” the Syrian people by ignoring themselves, individuals who have opposed the Assad regime in the past and suffered for it."

But after such a promising start, the author and ourselves soon part ways. 

She chides critics of Assad's regime in exile feel abused by “self-styled anti-imperialist” writers, that many of the opposition figures are encouraged by the National Endowment for Democracy and such pro-Western Syrians use their victim status to attack opposition to U.S. foreign policy. 

Indeed, she presents very much the same argument presented by the Bolsheviks when they found themselves the target of criticism. The accusations were from "White Russians" and the anarchist resistance such as by Makhno and the rising of the Kronstadt were counter-revolutionary.

Her conclusion is very much the basic, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," almost identical to the position she is critiquing,  but merely from the other side. 

The World Socialist Movement holds what is a very honourable principle - A plague upon both your houses. 

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