‘It’s hard enough for Americans to find goodwill in the Arab world, but it isn’t impossible. None of the people I spoke to in Beirut who groused about Washington’s perceived support for Assad are anti-American. I’ve known some of them for almost a decade. All are political liberals who more or less share our values, which largely explains why they oppose the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis in the first place. There is no upside to alienating these people.
It’s kind of bizzaro-land in our politics right now, flipped upside-down, where political incentive for those usually strong on national defense is not forthcoming for this President’s actions in Syria, even though we could see Syria coming from a mile away.
‘There is something to be learned here, and there is even a chance that some Administration principles may belatedly learn it: The mantra that the use of force, even the indirect use of force via arms provision to allies or would-be clients, should always be a last resort, is just that—a mantra with no relevance to real life. This is like, as I have said before, advising a cancer victim to wait until the very last moment to consider surgery. It epitomizes the Neville Chamberlain school of diplomacy ‘
Zakaria has been arguing that America would no longer get to be the ’director,’ and that we are seeing the rise of the rest, especially Asia. In the new piece above, he’s now arguing that we may become little more than bit players.
Here are some previous Zakaria articles, for those interested, as I think he is a deeper analyst with a wide ranging mind, who’s hit a slightly more liberal, mass audience, sweet spot: