Sunday, March 04, 2012

Chavez, Assad, and the American Left

My guess is that Americans who consider themselves left wing tend to approve of Hugo Chavez, as they have, traditionally, tended to approve of Fidel Castro. I would also guess that, like most other people, they tend to disapprove of Bashar Al-Assad and his violent suppression of opposition in Syria.

Chavez, however, is one of the few national leaders to support Assad. Assuming my guesses are correct, how do American (or, for that matter, European) leftists deal with the situation? One might view it, on a much smaller scale, as analogous to the problems faced by communists and those sympathetic to communism at the time of the Hitler/Stalin pact.

25 Comments:

At 2:08 PM, March 04, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"how do American (or, for that matter, European) leftists deal with the situation?"

Crickets. Pretend there's no conflict.

 
At 3:49 PM, March 04, 2012, Anonymous Nightrunner said...

Cheap shot. -Some- left-wingers believe that Chavez on the balance did more good than harm for majority of people of Venezuela and for the region. That does not mean automatic agreement with all his decisions and preferences.

 
At 5:32 PM, March 04, 2012, Blogger Will McLean said...

Please define your terms. What share of Americans define themselves as leftists? Of these, how many know who Hugo Chavez is? Of those, how many think he is worthy of support?

 
At 1:54 AM, March 05, 2012, Blogger Prateek said...

It's perfectly acceptable for Chavez or pro-Chavez people to be - at least - not anti-Assad. There are no double standards here.

Why?

1) Bashar al Assad, while being a leader of a police state, is not the military leader of Syria. He may well be complicit or quietly approving of the crackdown, but it is well established that he has no authority in his government to tell the army or air force what to do. Chavez may well be against sanctions, because he doesn't want the civilian government punished for the actions of the military govenrment.

2) The crackdown in Syria, while often hitting civilians and unarmed dissidents without remorse, was motivated by a primarily Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood sponsored uprising. The spiritual leader of the rebels, Adnan Al Arour, has said that the Alawi are to be "chopped into pieces and fed to the dogs". What al Assad's regime has done in response to terror attacks on Syrian government officials is simply what George Bush's government did to the Taliban, even though the Taliban never attacked America but only sheltered the Al Qaeda. Both cases involved heavy collateral damage, death of civilians, and indiscriminate killing of un-involved people alongside the involved ones. Who has the moral high ground? Perhaps no one? Then why bother?

3) Ask any well informed black American or native American what happens when anyone provides armed challenge to a government. Whether it is justified or un-justified, it tends to be not dissimilar to the al Assad regime crackdown. Indeed, when a religious cult refused to be allowed to be investigated for child abuse in Waco, Texas, Clinton's federal troops flamethrowered their church with all the children and women inside. All of them were killed. If there are to be no sanctions on America for this act, then why so on Syria for something similar?

4) In other words, what al Assad has done in Syria is not dissimilar to what other governments in other parts of the world do in response to acts of terror.

When has the Left ever disapproved of an ultraviolent response to terrorists? UK had a Labour government which went to war after the London bombings. No double standards at all.

 
At 3:52 AM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous Jim Rose said...

david,
Orwell in his proposed preface to ‘Animal Farm’ wrote of the renegade liberal.

Renegade liberals glorify communist experiments and disdain middle-class life despite their own pleasant bourgeois circumstances.

Renegade liberals search for outlaws states and revolutionary movements to support, who, of course, would ship these renegade liberals straight to the camps as soon as they won power.

The revolutionary excesses of the new regime would be excused as the misadventures of ‘liberals in a hurry’ who understandably lost patience with the slow pace of democratic reform.

 
At 7:43 AM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know David, let's ask the right wingers who used to be fine with supporting the Mujahedin, still are fine with supporting Saudi Arabia, Rick Santorum and the most "un-Western", most theocratic government Israel has ever had, yet say shariah law is the greatest threat out there?

And yeah, it's a cheap shot, not many people on the left actually agree with Chavez on all of his decisions, especially not his support of Assad. You're lucky that this time the dictator in question is one of those handful that weren't considered allies, and actively supported by republican governments in the past.

 
At 8:03 AM, March 05, 2012, Blogger Billiam said...

How do people justify wearing Che shirts, considering his actions? Many make up reasons of their own, either ignoring what he, or any other murderous bastard did, or saying his end justified what was done. People use those kind of mental gymnastics all the time. Right or Left, Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference.

 
At 9:33 AM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous Allan Walstad said...

It's not a cheap shot if one is also appalled by the hypocrisy of neocons who extol freedom while supporting dictators.

 
At 2:35 PM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous Edward said...

Certainly some American leftists support Chavez, but I'd say far from a majority. If you were to take some large left-leaning website like Democratic Underground or Daily kos and measure the ratio of favorable to unfavorable responses to articles about Chavez you could quantify his support on the left. I haven't done such an analysis, but informally I'd put it at no higher than 20%.

 
At 7:22 PM, March 05, 2012, Blogger Edward said...

My guess is that the sort of hard leftist who approves of Chavez is not particularly anti-Assad. See, e.g, Dennis Kucinich.

 
At 7:48 PM, March 05, 2012, Blogger TopupPrepaid2u said...

Hi,
I recently came across your site and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. Great post, concise and easy to understand. I like this post.

I found out that this site is very interesting and informative.
Best of luck to you!

Cheers,
Top up Prepaid

 
At 9:05 PM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous mdavid said...

One might view it, on a much smaller scale, as analogous to the problems faced by communists and those sympathetic to communism at the time of the Hitler/Stalin pact.

Sheese. If one is sympathetic to communism at the time of Stalin...what is so bad about Hitler?

 
At 11:58 PM, March 05, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not hypocritical, given that both Chavez and Assad have the same master (hint: he just won an election). Check out the history of the KGB, especially the book on the Mitrokhin archives dealing with KGB activities outside the developed world. A good google search for bite-sized articles is Ion Mihai Pacepa. It will help everyone understand US foreign policy better (e.g., the Iraq War, the US strikes on Libya, the issues the US has with Syria/Iran, Venezuela and so on)...

 
At 12:22 AM, March 06, 2012, Anonymous Nightrunner said...

I would say this really sums up the issue: http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/libertarians-only-now-at-end-do-you.html

Except I think most contemporary libertarians believe they are in on the con - they keep whining about "inefficiency" or "unfairness" of taxes and regulations but when you ask them about the state's encroaching on the personal liberties they hide in discussing political systems so much different from ours as to belong in the World of Warcraft rather than in our reality

 
At 5:07 PM, March 06, 2012, Anonymous Andy Z said...

My guess is that Americans who consider themselves libertarians tend to approve of David Duke, as they have, traditionally, tended to approve of Ron Paul. I would also guess that, like most other people, they tend to disapprove of Bashar Al-Assad and his violent suppression of opposition in Syria.

 
At 5:36 PM, March 06, 2012, Anonymous Allan Walstad said...

Andy Z: David Duke? Seriously? Get a grip, man.

 
At 12:14 AM, March 08, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nightrunner, stop being a troll, man. Ron Paul - the most visible contemporary libertarian politician - has been complaining about what you call the state's encroaching on the personal liberties since day one of this election cycle (and for decades in Congress), so to pretend you don't know this is just a desperate grab for attention and return comments. I have obliged you this time, you're welcome.

 
At 11:11 PM, March 08, 2012, Blogger John Fast said...

Prateek said Bashar al Assad, while being a leader of a police state, is not the military leader of Syria. He may well be complicit or quietly approving of the crackdown, but it is well established that he has no authority in his government to tell the army or air force what to do.
I'm skeptical of that, since as far as I know al-Assad is officially the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian armed forces. Where do you get your information that Assad doesn't control them?

 
At 9:33 PM, March 09, 2012, Anonymous Nightrunner said...

I said: I think most contemporary libertarians

Anonymous said: Nightrunner, stop being a troll, man. Ron Paul - the most visible contemporary libertarian politician

Dictionary.com said: Most - the greatest number or the majority of a class specified: Most of his writing is rubbish.

Mr. Anonymous, they know you well indeed.

 
At 12:03 PM, April 02, 2012, Anonymous Michelle Tulumello said...

I dont believe Chavez has given him any military support. Fuel has military applications but it also cooks food and enables the movementof goods and services. Perhaps Chavez is merely being a friend of the Syrian people. I do not believe that keeping openlines of communication and giving fuel assistance is necessarily a statement of support of the regime. Probably Chavez feels that he may be able to positively affect the lives of the Syrian people with his presence.
I was lucky enough to go to venezuela in 2006
To attend the World Social forum and I talked to alot of the Venezuelan people and I saw Chavez speak twice. He is not a tyrant and his people are freer to come and go and protest then we are here "in the belly of the beast"

 
At 12:23 PM, April 02, 2012, Anonymous michelle tulumello said...

Our country is seen throughout the global south as a violent, weapons dealing, resource gobbling, dishonest empire run by theives who steal from the poor amd give to the rich. And they are not wrong.
The US is responsible for a lot more violent death every day then al-Assad. This not to justify His actions, just to point out that everytime we beat the drums or war, you have to look for the money. Who are the US corporations that wouldbenifit from a conflict with Syria? Lets check the stockmarket and see...

 
At 6:00 AM, April 28, 2012, Blogger brian said...

the syrian people support the syrian govt, so no surprise Chavez does...foreigners behave as if they alone have can speak for the syrian people:

http://lizzie-phelan.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/citizens-of-homs-if-army-leaves-homs-we.html

http://lizzie-phelan.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/students-from-homs-thank-syrian.html

 
At 6:05 AM, April 28, 2012, Blogger brian said...

whay do people in the west assume syrias govt is the one killing syrians?

so lets ask mother agnes
http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/mother-agnes-merriam-al-saleeb-nameless-gunmen-possessing-advanced-firearms-terrorize-citizens-and-security-in-syria

 
At 6:32 AM, April 28, 2012, Blogger brian said...

syrian revolution or fascism? lets look at the following :

'Mother Agnes Merriam al-Saleeb, head of the Catholic Media Center team which visited Syria and witnessed the reality of the situation on the ground, said on Friday that there’s an environment that is nurturing and is in charge of nameless gunmen possessing advanced firearms and ammo, instructing them to vandalize and terrorize citizens and security forces in Syria.'
http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/mother-agnes-merriam-al-saleeb-nameless-gunmen-possessing-advanced-firearms-terrorize-citizens-and-security-in-syria/

SO WHAT WE HAVE IN SYRIAS 'REVOLUTION' IS FASCISM AIDED BY THE US AND SAUDIS...no surprise:
'“What do you mean by ‘fascistic’? Historically, ‘fascism’ is both an ideology and a practice, the practice including the use of violent militias to intimidate citizens and win power. There is no sign of that in France. Mere hostility to immigration is rampant in the United States, but this is not usually considered ‘fascism’.'
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/27/as-the-mutiny-spreads-its-clear-europeans-have-had-enough/

 
At 7:45 AM, September 07, 2012, Anonymous Binh said...

Most of the Western left openly or covertly supports the Assad regime:
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=1827

So when Chavez also supports counter-revolution in Syria, it makes them very happy instead of causing them to re-think their positions.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home