The State of Syria Defined by Aristotle

By Keegan O’Toole: period 1

Recent U.S. involvement in Syria has highlighted the desperate conditions brought by the Syrian Civil War and Refugee Crisis.  These current humanitarian disasters also question the origin of the unrest in Syria.  By using Aristotle’s definition of a “bad regime”[1] and purpose of a city, it is clear that the current unrest resulted from a perverse government and lack of purpose in the state.

In The Politics, Aristotle makes clear that different forms of government are acceptable and “good” as long as they are aimed at the “best interest of the state and of the citizens”[2].  These acceptable forms of regimes are Kingships, Aristocracies, and Constitutions[3].  Aristotle also writes of perverse forms of regimes which manifest as tyrannies, oligarchies, and democracies[4].  In doing this Aristotle conveys that different government structures, such as Syria’s structure, have the potential to be successful.  He also notes that there are perverse forms to convey that it is the interest of the regime that determines its success.  Therefore in determining the success of Syria’s regime, we must look at its interest.

Syria’s current regime interest center on President Bashar al-Assad, who took office through an unopposed ballot on July 10, 2000 .  Al-Assad campaigned under the idea of abolishing corruption, which allowed him to silence political rivals[5].   President al-Assad has fallen short of his earlier promises of human rights reform.  Instead he has restricted speech further.  Leading up to the civil war protestors had been killed by al-Assad’s regime in the interest of keeping al-Assad in power[6].

Al-Assad’s perverse interests and therefore government have also led to a lack of purpose within Syria.  Aristotle defines the purpose of a state as “existing for the sake of a good life”.[7]  This includes citizens with virtue, in partnership of living well, and in security.  It is evident that these values were scarce in Syria prior to the eruption of Civil War.  In December 2011 extremist groups began forming throughout Syria.  One of the results of this was a suicide bomb attach in Damascus, killing forty-four Syrians[8].  Through Aristotle’s explanation of a city it is evident Syria has strayed from its purpose.

Aristotle’s definitions of a perverse regime, which create a lack of purpose of the state, explain the current condition of Syria.   The U.N. has declared the conditions in Syria as the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.  Furthermore the civil war and refugee crisis can conclusively determine that the current Syrian regime has strayed from its “strict principles of justice” [9]revealing the origin of the unrest in Syria.

 

works cited

[1]  Aristotle. The Politics.

[2] Aristotle. The Politics.

[3] Aristotle. The Politics.

[4] Aristotle. The Politics.

[5] Thompson, Nick. “Syria’s war: How did we get here?” CNN. February 25, 2016. Accessed April 24, 2017

[6] Thompson, Nick. “Syria’s war: How did we get here?” CNN. February 25, 2016. Accessed April 24, 2017

[7] Aristotle. The Politics.

[8] Thompson, Nick. “Syria’s war: How did we get here?” CNN. February 25, 2016. Accessed April 24, 2017

[9] Aristotle. The Politics.

“Why is there a war in Syria?” BBC News. April 07, 2017. Accessed May 01, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35806229.

 

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