We have already pointed out that Bob Dreyfuss is an intellectually dishonest coward. But his latest in The Nation is actually refreshingly honest, if utterly repugnant. The stateside Bashar Assad fan club rarely plays its hand so openly as he does in his new exercise in dictator-shilling, unabashedly entitled "US Should Back Syria's Assad Against ISIS"! Dreyfuss favorably quotes former US ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker's obscene remarks in the New York Times a few months back that "Assad Is the Least Worst Option." He also similarly endorses recent comments to the same effect from Leslie Gelb in the same NY Times that "leftists" once derided as an organ of the imperial elite. He writes with wide-eyed credulity that Assad has "wrongly been accused of covertly supporting ISIS." That's pretty hilarious. This is the same Bob Dreyfuss who has been arguing for years (see, e.g. his Jan. 26, 2006 performance on Democracy Now!) that Israel covertly backed Hamas as a stratagem against Fatah before things got out of control. But he summarily dismisses the notion that Assad similarly backed the jihadists as a stratagem against the secular opposition before things similarly got out of control. However, there are more fundamental faults here…
The betrayal of Syria's secular opposition by the entire world is exactly what led to the emergence of ISIS. The jihadists, with their own arms networks, filled the vacuum. Those (including Dreyfuss, of course) who argued against support for the Syrian opposition because they were jihadists engaged in a self-fulfilling prophecy. And not always unwittingly.
This is another example of what we may now call the pseudo-left (or, emphasizing its utter lack of analysis, Idiot Left) in political convergence with the paleocon right—that faction of the Beltway elite that have their money on Bashar Assad. This is a reaction against the neocon "regime change" hubris—as if the paleocon enthusiasm for "stability" under dictatorships were any more progressive.
And this is indicative of a deeper problem still—the growing internalization of the imperial viewpoint in what used to be the "left." (We've noted before Dreyfuss' coziness with figures such as Lesie Gelb and outright love affair with ultra-paleocon Chas Freeman.) This is a most egregious example of what Syrian exile activist Leila Shrooms in her recent commentary derided as the paradoxical "State-centric discourse" of the left on Syria. There is more interest in playing policy wonk (as if those in the corridors of power give a hoot what we think) rather than what should be the critical work of progressives in the West: building solidarity with the secular civil resistance in Syria—which continues to exist, in spite of everything. As Syrians put their lives on the line to oppose a genocidal regime, the best "leftists" in the US can do is call for Washington to back the dictatorship? Just maddening.