Bret Stephens is a political commentator who works for The New York Times and NBC News. Stephens was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post between 2002 and 2004.
His Jewish identity is mentioned hand-in-hand with his political orientation by The Times of Israel: “In criticizing Trump even after his electoral victory, Stephens joins other leading Jewish conservative voices, including Brooks, Jennifer Rubin and William Kristol.” His Jewish identity is pertinent because he is known as a neocon and a strong supporter of Israel. The one seems to reinforce the other. Furthermore, his position on Iraq was criminal and disastrous and now he’s advocating a position on Syria that would also be criminal and disastrous. We should be extremely skeptical of the objectivity of someone like him who comes across as a shill for Israel and the Empire all-in-one.
Strong criticism of his position on Syria appears in an article by Robert Rabil dated yesterday that quotes him as follows: “U.S. should target Assad and his senior lieutenants directly in a decapitation strike, just as the U.S. attempted in Iraq in 2003, and against Osama bin Laden in 2011…if we [Americans] are serious about confronting Iran, Syria remains the most important battlefield.” What may result from such an aggression and war crime as decapitating Syria? I quote the article:
“It is mind boggling that someone as astute as Stephens would call for the decapitation of the regime in the same way U.S. had done in Iraq without providing an alternative to the regime. No less significant, does ‘our’ seriousness about confronting Iran require decapitating the Syrian regime? Is punishing the Syrian regime a pretext to confront Iran? This is a dangerous and flawed logic divorced from the harsh reality of the Levant. How could anyone invoke what the U.S. attempted in Iraq without admitting and internalizing the staggering human and financial cost the U.S. has paid? Has the notion of what may happen the day after the decapitation strike and confronting Iran crossed Stephens’ mind, or of those echoing him? Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.00 Buy New $5.00 (as of 08:40 EDT - Details)
“Undoubtedly, Syria will further descend into anarchy and wretchedness, leading up to regional and international strife. A decapitating strike against the Syrian regime and/or an open confrontation with Iran in Syria would most likely put Moscow and Washington on a path of armed conflict. Russia made its position clear that it will respond to any game changing attack on Syria…
“Most importantly, is it in the national interest of Washington to risk a war over Syria, and by extension Iran, with Moscow after what United States has gone through in Iraq and Afghanistan with little to show for the enormous sacrifices Americans have made?”
Stephens was born in New York City in 1973. Stephens is said to be “brilliant”. He has several awards, indicating he’s a smart fellow, but being smart doesn’t make you wise, right or someone whose ideas should be followed. He strongly endorsed the war on Iraq:
“Stephens was a ‘prominent voice’ among the media advocates for the start of the 2003 Iraq War, for instance writing in a 2002 column that, unless checked, Iraq was likely to become the first nuclear power in the Arab world. Although the weapons of mass destruction used as a casus belli were never shown to exist, Stephens continued to insist as late as 2013 that the Bush administration had ‘solid evidence’ for going to war. Stephens has also argued strongly against the Iran nuclear deal and its preliminary agreements, arguing that they were a worse bargain even than the 1938 Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany.”
The neocon world view fails to recognize the the tremendous injuries the U.S. is inflicting on peoples in other lands. It fails to recognize either their property rights or rights to self-determination. The neocons fail to recognize the long-term ill-will and retaliation that the U.S. is producing. The neocons naively and wrongly think that democracy is a wonderful institution, that the U.S. has a right to overthrow regimes and set up democratic governments. They wrongly think that they are capable of building states when they are not. The neocons fail to recognize the military capabilities, including the nuclear weapons, of other powers. The neocons overestimate the efficacy of the U.S. military. The Jewish neocons are influenced strongly by Israeli right-wingers, and they are not of a mind to devise peaceful solutions to the nagging problems associated with Israel. The neocons do not comprehend that the world can progress peacefully and without a dominant superpower attempting to impose its standards and form of government. The neocons fail to recognize the faults of the U.S. government. The neocons ignore the inflation of the domestic police state as a feature of the Empire, just as they ignore the mounting U.S. debt. The neocons fail to see or appreciate other peoples as persons, instead viewing them as pieces they can move on a world chess board.