The Strange Monochromatic Morality of David Brooks

The smug know-it-all in the wire-rimmed glasses is at it again. This time, he’s playing the part of National Security Adviser, laying out a clear plan for victory in the Middle East:

The Middle East is not a chessboard we have the power to manipulate. It is a generational drama in which we can only play our role. It is a drama over ideas, a contest between the forces of jihadism and the forces of pluralism. We can’t know how this drama will play out, and we can’t direct it. We can only promote pluralism — steadily, consistently, simply.

Sticking to our values means maintaining a simple posture of support for people who share them and a simple posture of opposition to those who oppose them. It means offering at least some reliable financial support to moderate fighters and activists even when their prospects look dim. It means avoiding cynical alliances, at least as much as possible. It means using bombing campaigns to try to prevent mass slaughter.

If we do that then we will fortify people we don’t know in ways we can’t imagine. Over the long term, we’ll make the Middle East slightly more fertile for moderation, which is the only influence we realistically have. Ideas drive history.

I know: it’s a far cry from the David Brooks we knew in 2003… you know, when he was cheer-leading for regime change in Iraq. But that’s neither here nor there, because David Brooks will never admit that he has said any of these things; he will continue to vomit vapidity into our intellectual water supply without conscience or remorse until the day he dies.

But it’s also hilariously stupid, because Mr. Brooks simply doesn’t realize that the only person treating the war in Syria like a game of chess is him. Chess is simple. You have two opposing players, their respective armies, and a flat, featureless field upon which they are meant to do battle. The Syrian Civil War, on the other hand, is not simple. Seriously.

If we’re not supporting pluralists, as Mr. Brooks is wont to complain, I would wager that it is because picking out the pluralists from such an ungodly clusterfuck of backwater revolutionary groups is an exercise in masochism. Just how does Mr. Brooks propose we support pluralism “consistency” when Syrian pluralists are ostensibly allied with Salafi Jihaddists?

He doesn’t, of course.  But never having to justify a single ounce of your bullshit is just one of the perks of being David Brooks.


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