Wallenstein’s Political Impasse

What a Pity for the World System Theory!

By Adel Samara

This is not the place or the time to explain that I have been benefitted from the writings of the World System theory of Amin, Frank, Wallerstein and Arrighi. I think that many of their analyses are still valid, however I think that we must advance the analysis of De-linking to beyond de-linking.

Unfortunately, in many occasions, some writers of this school lack, in their political writings, much of their profound analysis in development and even economics. It is for them to find the causes behind that. If it is for people like me to answer, I think that as long as they, or any of them, go too far from Maoism, which influenced most of them and most of the Monthly Review writers, they are certainly getting lost.

It is also unfortunately too, when Immanuel Wallerstein wrote on the economic/financial crisis he connected economy, society and politics. But his political comments are different and poor.

In his recent and short commentary “The Syrian Impasse” (located at  in http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/) , Wallerstein dealt with the issue in a relatively careless manner, at least when compared with the serious research and analysis on Syria by people like Michael Chossudovsky and well known journalist Pepe Escobar on Libya and Arab “spring”.

Following the western media and political discourse, Wallerstein’s commentary shows as if the problem is with the Syrian president Assad and as if there is no regime, system or even social classes in Syria. He is repeating the speeches of Georges Bush (the junior and the senior) against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein or Obama’s against President Assad. When speaking about other parties in the conflict he mentions states or regimes.

Wallesrstein’s analysis deals with points that became behind the current developments, moment or even time in Syria and that are still entrenched beside the relatively old issues like: “Assad is indeed a very bloody tyrant”. The struggle now is for Syria not “only” inside Syria. This, in addition to the fact that, I guess Wallerstein is not well informed that the current Assad is not the late one who was accused of being brutal. This doesn’t mean that the regime in Syria is democratic and did not practice oppression. Wallesrstein did not even note that the regimes and leaders who oppose Assad are not different and are worse that the Syrian regime itself.

It is more than strange that he did not mention that the US regime is still killing innocent victims, even nations, all over the world. It is a question of morality to describe other regimes, so long as they are “big” players in the same conflict for Syria.

Wallerstein never touched upon the role of the core economic/financial crisis in motivating the western capitalist regimes to interfere in the conflict in the Arab Homeland, nor did he note that the conflict is between the counter-revolution and revolution in this region.

Another unfortunate observation, it seems that Wallerestein had adopted the hysteria was founded by Bernard Lewis and British colonialism in dealing with Arab societies from a religious – sectarian (Alawites, Shi’a, Druze, Sunni…etc) point view, not that of class structure! This is despite the fact that he confirmed that more than half of the society is backing Assad and he did not mention whom the other half is backing? He writes: “Finally, the large merchant bourgeoisie have yet to turn against Assad and the Baath regime”. It is strange that he failed to grasp the fact that the poor and even lumpen-proletariat are lured and used to fight the regime, while he must grasped the fact that the patriotic opposition inside Syria is composed of leftists, nationalists and politically conscious working class. Wallerstein did not explain when the merchant bourgeois will turn against Assad and if not, why?

When naming those who are against Syrian regime, wallerstein writes: “The regime is being squeezed economically. The opposition Free Syrian Army is being fed arms by Iraqi Sunnis and probably Qatar”

First, Wallerstein never mentioned the political opposition inside Syria which is strange. While Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates are declaring in the open that they are and will continue support the terrorists in Syria, the question becomes: Why is Wallerstein still entrenched behind the “probability” of the involvement of Qatar in the Syrian crisis?

What is more astonishing is that Wallesretein does not refer to western capitalist regimes’ open and obvious statements of intervention in Syria? Ignoring the western leading role in the Syrian crisis is a false attempt to show that it is a problem inside Arab League, which is not at all.

In fact, Wallerstein, with some confidence, pretends that the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime (ZAR), the US and other dependent imperialisms are in support of the Syrian regime! By doing so, Wallerstein is indirectly opposing the veto of Russia and China. As a figure of the world system school, he failed to touch upon the fact that the conflict over Syria is now an international one, and is strongly related with the gradual, but certain, change of centrality of the world to Asia.

When Wallerstein slightly approaches the US position, he confirms that there is: ” No appetite, despite the pressure of neocon intellectuals like Charles Krauthammer who is honest enough to admit “it’s not just about freedom.” It’s really, he says, “about undoing the regime in Iran”.

Even if it is, as Wallerstein pretends, it is more than clear that the road to burn Iran “must” start from Syria, and he never mentions why it is about Iran? Is it for the sake of the ZAR as a regime and its role against Arab nation? And/or is it for the oil which is guarded by clientele pre-historic regimes?

It is not right that the US has no appetite for military intervention. The US has no money to finance a new aggression against a country which is not weak enough. In Libya, the US was never pressured to participate in killing 150,000 Arabs; the US led the massacre and enjoyed it twice:

· Killing Arabs

· Guarantee an opening of a big gate to control North African Arabs and the entire African continent with huge various interests behind that.

The big poverty of Wallerstein’s article maybe found in its last paragraph: “…who wants to intervene in Syria? Perhaps Qatar. But Qatar, however wealthy it is, is scarcely a major military power. The bottom line is that, however loud the rhetoric and however ugly the civil war, no one really, really wants Assad to go. So, in all probability, he will stay”.

Wallerstein did not mention why Qatar or only Qatar wants to intervene in Syria? Is it because Qatar is a democratic state? Is it because women in Qatar have achieved full emancipation? Or, it is because Qatar never has a self -designed policy! If nobody is so keen to interfere in Syria, and more than fifty percent of the Syrian people are supporting the regime, how come Assad is a “very bloody tyranny”? If he is bloody that much and the people prefer him, does this means that Wallerstein consider the Syrian people are inferior and like tyranny!