America, It’s Time to Stop Focusing on Syria–Oh, Wait

 

This article by Robert Kaplan just swam up on my Twitter feed: With the Focus on Syria, Mexico Burns:

While the foreign policy elite in Washington focuses on the 8,000 deaths in a conflict in Syria — half a world away from the United States — more than 47,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006 in Mexico. A deeply troubled state as well as a demographic and economic giant on the United States’ southern border, Mexico will affect America’s destiny in coming decades more than any state or combination of states in the Middle East. Indeed, Mexico may constitute the world’s seventh-largest economy in the near future.

Well, you know, I’d heartily agree with the whole article, except that I see no evidence that anyone is focusing on Syria in the first place. According to Google news, US edition, these are the top stories today:

(I’m glad that at least Mali’s on the list.)

Kaplan continues:

Syria matters and matters momentously to U.S. interests, but Mexico ultimately matters more, so one would think that there would be at least some degree of parity in the amount written on these subjects. I am not demanding a switch in news coverage from one country to the other, just a bit more balance.

Looks about equal to me: Nearly zero news coverage of either. 

The next line made me laugh, in a dark way:

Of course, it is easy for pundits to have a fervently interventionist view on Syria precisely because it is so far away, whereas miscalculation in Mexico on America’s part would carry far greater consequences. For example, what if the Mexican drug cartels took revenge on San Diego? Thus, one might even argue that the very noise in the media about Syria, coupled with the relative silence about Mexico, is proof that it is the latter issue that actually is too sensitive for loose talk.

Yes, well, to the extent that anyone talks about Syria, the punditry usually offers some off-handed comment about what the countries bordering Syria could do or should do. Let me offer those pundits a hint: It should not surprise you if these countries behave as if Syria were very close to them. It should not surprise you that they worry miscalculation might have grave consequences. Same kind of situation, you see?

Need any more insight into the Middle East, give me a ring. 

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @LeslieWatkins

    Perhaps nothing serious is said about Syria because world leaders know they’re not willing to do anything serious about it. This may be for good or ill; who knows definitively in the short- or long-term ? But we know going in that nothing really bad is going to happen to Assad, unless his own people do him in. We can always hope for that. But then, we may get what we wish for and find that it’s a nightmare rather than a dream.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CaptAubrey

    The google list is interesting on a lot of levels, the tag “mobile and wireless” is something I follow carefully but I bet what passes for mainstream media articles on the subject are mostly advertising.

    The attitude about Syria strikes me as similar to the attitude about Iran and Iraq during their war. Maybe they’ll all kill each other and leave us a alone. Gadafi, unlike Assad, made the mistake of accounting for 50% of the Italian’s electric production.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Capt. Aubrey: The attitude about Syria strikes me as similar to the attitude about Iran and Iraq during their war. Maybe they’ll all kill each other and leave us a alone. 

    But we were massively involved in the Iran-Iraq war, with consequences that obviously affect every American to this day.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis

    Are the so-called “foreign policy elite” focusing on Tiger Woods?

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CaptAubrey
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Capt. Aubrey: The attitude about Syria strikes me as similar to the attitude about Iran and Iraq during their war. Maybe they’ll all kill each other and leave us a alone. 

    But we were massively involved in the Iran-Iraq war, with consequences that obviously affect every American to this day. · 56 minutes ago

    Edited 55 minutes ago

    When it first got underway I saw Kissinger interviewed and he said he wished they would both lose. That’s what I was thinking about.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JohnMarzan

    Should the U.S. State Dept. label the Mexican Cartels as FTO’s. Will this be seen as escalation?

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Is Mali one of those one-name celebrities?  Like Prince or Madonna?

    And who is Cleveland Browns?

    • #7
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