The Alt-Right and Assad
The Alternative Right has certainly been active force over the past two years. After Hillary Clinton publicized the Alt-Right in an August speech, the group has become a routine part of national political discourse. Steve Bannon, the former editor in chief of Breitbart, which he once described as “a platform for the alt-right” became part of the National Security Council, in a move that drew criticism from other parts of the political spectrum.
Donald Trump was evidently the favored candidate of the Alt-Right since he announced his candidacy in June of 2015. Richard Spencer, one of the most outspoken members of the Alt-Right, called Trump’s win a “complement” to the alt-right. Alt-right pages on Instagram gained thousands of followers after their open support for Trump, and they even managed to spin a meme into a “hate symbol”.
The Alt-Right certainly has many peculiar views, from their ethno-nationalism to their protectionism. One of these many views is their outspoken support for Bashar Al-Assad, a tyrannical dictator who gasses his own citizens in the streets.
After the devastating chemical attack in Idlib that killed nearly 80 people, prominent Alt-righters such as Alex Jones claimed the attack was a false flag attack, designed to get the United States involved in another war in the middle east. After the Trump administration launched Tomahawks into Syria, the Alt-right turned on Trump-their former hero. Paul Joseph Watson, the editor at large for infowars, called Trump a “deep state/neocon puppet”. Throughout the following week, the Alt-Right turned on Trump, seemingly preferring Bashar Al-Assad, a foreign dictator, to Donald Trump, a democratically elected president.
The Alt-Right unfortunately falls for a common misconception. This misconception is only popular because it is simple to believe, and offers a simple solution to many global problems. The Alt-Right believes that brutal dictators, like Bashar Al-Assad, can create stability. This is the misconception lying at the heart of Alt-Right support for Assad. However, it ignores the very start of the Syrian civil war in the first place. It was not American intervention that caused this brutal conflict. Rather, it was the Arab Spring, a democratic movement that swept the Arab world in 2011, that led to the civil war. It is natural human tendency to want freedom, and when a dictator takes that freedom away and attacks his own people, people will naturally go to great lengths to earn that freedom back. Unfortunately, the Alt-right does not understand this, and this is why they support Bashar Al Assad.