Andrew Sullivan: As Bad a Foreign Policy Analyst As He Is An Amateur Obstetrician

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 15, 2011

I suppose that it should come as no surprise that Andrew Sullivan should interpret the Naqba protests in a way that makes Israel look bad, but as is his wont, Sullivan only presents part of the story. For some perspective not provided by the Inspector Javert of Trig Palin’s matrilineal line, Abu Muqawama is quite valuable:

. . . This will shock all some none of you, but Arab regimes have often cynically used the Palestinian cause to shift the focus away from their own failures and abuses. The clashes today are the best of news for Bashar al-Asad, and only the Lord knows how many brave Syrians will now be gunned down or thrown into prison in Homs, Douma, Hama, Baniyas, etc. while everyone’s eyes are on the Lebanese, Syrian and Gazan borders with Israel. Just yesterday, we were all talking about terrified Syrians fleeing into northern Lebanon. Now Syria and its allies have either engineered or have been presented with the mother of all distractions from their own wretched and criminal behavior.

[. . .]

The IDF almost always seems to do the strategically stupid thing in these situations, either using force more than is necessary or using force indiscriminately, but I will not judge the decisions or actions of the IDF just yet and, as tough as I have been on the IDF in cases, I have some sympathy for them here. What were they supposed to do in the face of a breach of the border? And what did the protesters think would happen? (I know what Syria and some particularly cynical actors in Gaza and Lebanon probablyhoped would happen: exactly what did happen.) But you can’t really fault a military for protecting the territorial integrity of its state by force.

[. . .]

Finally, remember the one rule I follow with respect to Levantine politics: just be cynical about the motives and actions of everyone, and you will never go wrong.

All good points, especially the last. Unfortunately, Andrew Sullivan is only cynical about the motives of Israel these days.

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