There’s lots of anguish and recriminations among radicals and radical chicists about what the “right” position is on US aggression in Syria, just as there was with Libya. It seems to me that much of this is on account of an epistomological mistake.
Now, if one is personally committed to the Syrian civil war for whatever reason, that’s one thing. You’d have to figure out what you think is best from that point of view. But that’s not the case for the vast majority of Americans who have taken an interest in this. We come to it primarily from the point of view of opposing US imperialism.
The mistake many people make is that if there’s a tangible enemy involved, they think that opposing US aggression means or implies support for this enemy. Since this enemy is often itself a malign actor – the Saddam regime, the Qaddaffi regime, the Assad regime, etc. – the implication that opposing imperialism has to mean support for all of its target causes these people to hesitate and split among themselves.
But to me this makes no sense. I oppose the US system in every kind of case, and I don’t see why this particular kind of case is different from any other. Given any weapons system like the F-22, I say cancel it. I say that in opposition to the Pentagon. But it’s not clear to me who I’m “siding with” in that case.
Similarly, given a project like the Libyan assault, I oppose it. I do that in opposition to the Pentagon and the rest of the system, same as with a weapons contract. I see no reason why in that case I need to be “siding with” anyone, any more than with the weapons contract. The fact that there was a specific target of the project doesn’t change that.
So it is today with Syria. While we can expect that eventually US overextension will help speed up US collapse, this is speculative in any particular case, and therefore my default is to oppose every prospective act of imperialism. I oppose these acts because as an American citizen my job is to oppose every aspect of Western corporate aggression. It’s emphatically not my job to take sides in every conflict outside the West. The notion that it is, so beloved of liberals and radical chicists, and even some radicals, is of course part of the pathology of Western aggression. Such alleged radicals simply reveal themselves as old-style authoritarians who still want the corporate state and hierarchical domination, but somehow in a “better” form. But a true anti-corporatist knows that the only non-evil thing the West can do, is capable of doing, for anyone, anywhere, is to GET OUT. And stay out.