In the wake of the Norway attacks, and amidst the ongoing violence in Syria, a discussion of the perpetrators of each seems in order. Today on Tablet, Lee Smith asks why Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still given the diplomatic benefit of the doubt.

“The problem with Western societies,” Smith argues, “isn’t that we occasionally produce monsters like Breivik, of whatever political persuasion. Rather, it’s that we negotiate with monsters like Assad, who live in palaces and use the instruments of government to murder their own people.”

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