Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another Dalrymple essay

In other words, Bashar al-Assad reveals himself as a kind of Baathist Mr Blair, infinitely nastier because of the political traditions and situation of the country in which he finds himself. You can just hear him saying, Blairishly, “Surely you can’t think that I ordered the deaths of all those people, at least not unless I thought it was really necessary for the good of my country and the rest of humanity.”

This is all very sick, but it is not the pathology of the Middle East alone. It is what happens when the contemporary psychology of the Real-Me (the notion that, no matter what I do or how I behave, my inner goodness, my original virtue, remains intact), which since the 1960s has become so profoundly Western, intersects with a vile political tradition.