During a recent White House meeting between President Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump had some surprising commentary on the war in Syria, and specifically the way life was for Syrians before 2011: “It was a great culture before it was so horribly blown apart. A place where people would go…” he said in the televised meeting.
What did the president mean by this? He explained that Syria was highly stable before the war, and even an attractive place to travel: “Syria will start to stabilize. You see what’s happening, it’s been a horror show. I have great respect for Syria and the people of Syria – these are great people… .. it was the place to go and you look at what’s happened it’s so sad. But I’d like to see Syria come back.“
NOTEWORTHY comments by @realDonaldTrump : We helped #Syria actually by withdrawing from the #Iran deal. Syria will hopefully start to stabilize. I have great respect for Syria. This is a great country and great people pic.twitter.com/GTniaiIi5r
— EHSANI2 (@EHSANI22) May 22, 2018
While we don’t quite now if Trump would like to see Syria “come back” on the Syrian people’s own terms, or if he has more of the usual Washington regime change playbook in mind, his somewhat off the cuff remarks present an important point question: why does no one ever talk about what Syria or any other society that’s suffered under the disastrous hand of US intervention was like before the war?
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“He who has not lived in the years before the revolution cannot know what the sweetness of living is.”
— Talleyrand, via Bertolucci, from the 1964 film Prima della Rivoluzione
IRAQ, LIBYA, SYRIA… Countries ripped apart through sectarian and political violence in the aftermath of cataclysmic external interventions: American invasion and occupation in Iraq, NATO intervention in Libya, and international proxy war in Syria. Mere mention of these countries conjures images of sectarian driven atrocities and societal collapse into the abyss of a Hobbesian jungle.