Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, and the tyrannical theocracy of Iran may not agree on a lot of things. Pipes may even style himself an opponent to the very existence of the velayat-e faqih regime. But there is one important thing the two parties do agree on – that the brutal Assad regime of Syria is currently worth supporting.
Yes. You read that correctly. Pipes, a self-described “humanitarian,” believes that the United States and its Western allies should actively support the Assad regime in its war against a diverse insurgency – Kurds and Sunni Arabs, secularists and Islamists, democrats and theocrats all within.
The Middle East “expert” argues that if the Assad regime were to fall, it would be replaced “with triumphant inflamed Islamists.” Thus, he argues, it is in the best interests of the U.S. to escalate the conflict, leaving Sunni and Shia jihadis to kill each other off in protracted war. It’s not as if this prolonged violence would lead to the continued death, wounding, rape, and oppression of numerous innocents. Only the bad Islamists will be killed or harmed. Right Dan?
In order to support this reasoning, Pipes trumps out ridiculous historically inaccurate examples of the United States making similar moves in its foreign policy past:
“This policy has precedent. Through most of World War II, Nazi Germany was on the offensive against Soviet Russia, and keeping German troops tied down on the Eastern Front was critical to an Allied victory. Franklin D. Roosevelt therefore helped Joseph Stalin by provisioning his forces and coordinating the war effort with him.”
According to Pipes’ history, the United States fought Nazi Germany and allied with the Soviets not because the former had declared war on the U.S., nor because the Nazi government had allied itself with Japan (December 7th 1941 anyone?). It was simply because the Soviets were losing. Surely then, if the situation had been reversed, Roosevelt would have chosen to become bosom buddies with Hitler. Right Danny?
But this isn’t the only historical precedent Pipes cites:
“After mid 1982, when Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces went on the offense against those of Saddam Hussein, Western governments began supporting Iraq. Yes, the Iraqi regime had started the hostilities and was more brutal, but the Iranian one was ideologically more dangerous and on the offensive.”
Yes aiding the Hussein-regime against Iran was a genius move. It wasn’t like this alliance helped Iraq obtain various weapons of mass destruction or allowed the Baathists to brutally slaughter thousands of Kurds, Arab Shias, Marsh Arabs, dissident Sunni Arabs, and various other Iraqi minorities and innocent men, women, and children.
Gosh, Pipes is such a “humanitarian.”
But perhaps Pipes may retort that he is not purely a humanitarian. He’s a foreign policy realist and merely looking out for American interests above all else. And, he may continue, advancing American interests is good for global humanitarianism in the long run.
This is realpolitik at its worst – not only inhumane but idiotic as well.
Pipes assumes that the inevitable successor to the Assad regime would be an Islamist one more oppressive to its citizens and more anathema to U.S. interests. Apparently he is a fortune teller as well as a foreign policy “analyst.” Who knew?
He also claims this inevitable Islamist regime “would hugely boost the increasingly rogue Turkish government.” This description of the Erdogan regime in Turkey leaves me almost speechless. Yes the AKP-dominated government of Turkey is more religious than its overly-secular predecessors. And yes this new regime is less the lapdog for U.S. foreign policy than the Kemalists were. But “rogue” government? Really?
If anything Turkey has served as a beneficial counterweight to the pernicious influence of Iran within the region. Maybe Pipes is actually warming to the Iranian theocrats?
Despite all the disastrous consequences Pipes warns will arise from the Syrian regime’s collapse, he remains moronically mute on the possible negative outcomes from his “Aid-an-Assad” strategy.
For example, what effect would such a policy have on the attitude of Syria’s future generations towards the United States? Would they be more America-friendly? And what effect would this have on the strength and legitimacy of pro-U.S. Syrians? Would arguments for secularism, democracy, and moderate Islam seem more or less legit to the people of Syria after the U.S. allies itself with their former oppressor?
And what would this policy entail for the Middle East and wider “Muslim world” in general? How would this effect the U.S. relationship with the ongoing Arab Spring?
I’m no “expert” like Pipes. But I’m going to gander a guess to these questions I’ve posed and say that this pro-Assad policy would mainly lead to negative outcomes in these areas – both for U.S. interests and humanitarianism at large.