"Nothing gets you over the last one like the next one," or so goes common advice after the termination of a serious relationship. We Americans recently dwindled down our long-term relationship with Iraq and are looking to move into a new Middle Eastern residence. Did we find a new beau in Syria? Or will it just be—I pray—a one night stand.
The joint bombing of Syria has the distinct flavor of Bill Clinton's 1998 bombing of an abandoned factory in Iraq during his impeachment for using his office to cover up his infelicitous soiree with Monica Lewinsky. Or perhaps this is the influence of John Bolton, the UN ambassador under the most recent Bush? Neo-conservatism shares with its socialist ancestor the belief that all contemporary problems could be solved if only other cultures would embrace our post-Roosevelt federal system and be "free." Apparently Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq did not sufficiently convince Western leadership otherwise. It is a long discredited idea, but, like witchcraft and democracy, it tells a comforting lie: that we can do something about everything we do not like.