Bashar Assad: Good or Bad?

7 Dec

[ezcol_1half]assad[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Bewildered over whether Assad is “good” or “bad”? Unless you’ve time and energy for independent research you’re stuck with a narrative framed by capital. In UK that’s the voice of Rothermere, Murdoch and Barclay Brothers, or a liberal press less widely read and chasing a centre ground that’s moved sharply to the right.[/ezcol_1half_end]

It is naive but depressingly common to think Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad came under western fire for being brutal. (Look at the evidence for god’s sake! From Riyadh to Apartheid Pretoria, since when did Wall or Threadneedle Street baulk at doing business with any  regime on such namby pamby grounds?) So what else had those Arab dictators in common? All oversaw forms of state capitalism that (a) gave their citizens levels of material security, education and welfare infrastructure far higher than any comparable neoliberal regime, and (b) locked out free market global capital. (As did the USSR and for that matter Britain’s nationalised industries and NHS.) Yes, counter currents may need to be factored in. A tyrant, however useful, may have to be cut loose when the political costs become too high. But never overlook the bottom line calculations which always inform the way we are manipulated, 1984 style, into where next to direct our fear and loathing. See America’s Dirty War on Syria …

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