Granting Bashar al-Assad Legitimacy Is a Moral and Strategic Capitulation Without Benefits

In May, the World Health Organization gave Syria—which routinely bombs hospitals and runs a multibillion-dollar drug-smuggling business—a place on its executive board, while just last month Interpol allowed the country back into its networks, from which it had been banned since 2011. Meanwhile the U.S. has given tacit approval to many of its Arab allies’ restoration of diplomatic and economic ties with Damascus. Danielle Pletka writes:

[T]he Biden administration has unofficially reconciled itself to the idea that the best outcome in Syria is a Tehran-backed Bashar al-Assad regime. In addition to the likely withdrawal of U.S. troops in northern Syria, Secretary of State Tony Blinken—his [familial] memories of the Holocaust apparently shoved to the side—has signed on to a tacit agreement not to enforce Caesar Act sanctions against Arab leaders looking to normalize and subsidize Assad. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 mandates sanctions against Assad supporters, war criminals, and others complicit in Assad’s war on his people, and bars normalization.

What will it all mean? In the status-quo-ante dreams of DC fixers too young to know better (or perhaps too arrogant to care), Assad will reassert control over all of Syria, and then a happy confederation of Israel, the United States, and Russia will give the Syrian dictator the confidence he needs finally to oust Iran and Hizballah from his lands. Turkey and Russia will make sure there’s no homeland for Islamic State or al-Qaeda or other pesky Salafists who threaten our national security. Neat, tidy, and possibly with a cherry on top.

But this is not a realpolitik recipe for success. . . . Here is the reality: Assad will never drop Tehran because he owes his life to Iran. Iran will never drop Assad because the regime has had every possible incentive to do so over the last decade, and has never wavered. Together, Assad, Iran, and Russia cannot crush their opponents because . . . ten years of fighting has failed to make that happen. So what should the United States do? As always, the best guide is the intersection of morality and strategic interests.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Arab World, Bashar al-Assad, Iran, Joseph Biden, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University