News Release

The U.S., Macron and Syria


Trump is currently hosting French President Emmanuel Macron on a state visit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to visit the U.S. on Friday.

KAMAL DIB, kamaldib at
Dib is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He is fluent in Arabic, French and German as well as English. His specializations include Canadian social policy and multiculturalism and the social and economic histories of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Germany. His books include Warlords and Merchants: The Lebanese Business and Political Establishment (in English) and in Arabic, Syria in History and The Damnation of Cain: The Natural Gas Wars From Russia, Iran, and Qatar, to Lebanon and Syria.

He said today: “It’s certainly notable that France is so pro-intervention in Syria while it is the former colonial power there during the mandate period — between World Wars I and II. But France is mostly being used by the U.S. government as dubious international cover right now. While Germany has focused on building its domestic economy, France — instead of reforming their own economic system — is seeking foreign adventures in the belief that that will somehow aid its economy — targeting natural resources of countries like Mali while selling weapons.

“The main dynamic we’re seeing is that the U.S. government continues to interfere in countries all over the world with the message: Do what you’re told. This means imposing the economics of neoliberalism, the so-called the Washington Consensus — or suffer the consequences. In the Mideast, the U.S. government has supported the so-called traditionalists (such as the monarchies) and attacked the secular modernists, most recently Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi and now Syria under Bashar Assad.

“An objective view would assess the good and bad of all these groups in that region. Both the Arab traditionalists and modernists are clearly authoritarian. But we virtually only hear about the bad of these secularists — and in a manner that is often propagandistic. The U.S. government has been attempting to interfere in Syria since at least the 1950s. Since that time, Syria has managed to have remarkably positive outcomes in education, health care, clean water and electricity. That’s clear if you contrast it with Egypt, which was supposed to have such massive benefits from its treaty with Israel, but which has developed very poorly with Western aid and investment.”