Sunday, April 15, 2018

How to explain the hard-left's position on Syria

When a one-party state, led by a dictator, with a personality cult, who inherited his position from his father (who himself gained power by military coup), repeatedly uses chemical weapons against his opponents and the residents of areas governed by his opponents, you'd think there would be universal outrage and condemnation.  

But no.  Setting aside the regime itself and its foreign backer (Russia - which has used its airforce to quell dissent against the regime, with little apparent concern for civilian casualties), there have been two groups who tend to hold one (or even more than one) of three views of these events:

1.  The chemical attacks didn't happen (the "false flag" believers).  As such it was staged by one or more opposition groups, or the more ludicrous claims that it was a CIA, MI5, Israeli orchestrated charade.

2.  The chemical attacks did happen, but were undertaken either by an opposition group (which has no air power, given the Syrian Air Force is well equipped) or by the UK (says Russia), to discredit Assad and Russia.

3.  The chemical attacks did happen, but no one can prove it was the Assad regime, and besides any military action just "makes it worse", will "escalate conflict", will "benefit Jihadists", is "illegal", etc.

One group are non-interventionist libertarians, who at best simply oppose military action by governments on principle, unless it is for self-defence.  Some are conspiracy theory cranks who share a lot with the other group.  I'll discuss them all another day.  Suffice to say, while I respect high levels of scepticism over intervention, I am not a non-interventionist.  I think there is a considerable interest for us all, for those governments with some values of individual rights, rule of law and secular liberal democracy, to take steps to ensure that the treaty based commitment of state to not use chemical weapons, is enforced, with some urgency especially if that state is using it against civilians.  There is merit in arguments against such action, but this post is not about those arguments.

This is about the much larger and vocal "other lot", the so-called "peace" movement on the left.  It's view, as exemplified by the far-left hypocritical "Stop the War Coalition" in the UK, is fairly simple.  It opposes absolutely all Western military action of all kinds, and happily cheers on military, terrorist and other insurgency action by any entities confronting the West or its allies. Loud on US intervention, silent on Russia.  Most of the libertarian non-interventionists are fairly consistently opposed to both, but the far-left are much more obviously hypocritical.

With a Hat Tip to Dave Rich on Twitter I thought his explanation of the hard-left worldview of these events, alongside the Skripal poisoning and indeed many foreign policy issues is as applicable to the NZ Green Party as it is to the UK Labour Party, and to equivalent far-left movements in other countries. 













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