Question: What was your immediate thoughts on the letter signed by 51 mid-level State Department employees calling on the Obama Administration to start bombing immediately the Assad government in Syria?
Answer: First, it is unprecedented for currently employed State Department officials in such numbers to revolt against their boss Secretary John Kerry and his boss the President of the United States. Of course it was intentionally leaked to the media. Second, it demonstrates what I have said for years – the political establishment is deeply divided when it comes to Syria. In this case the State Department is siding with the CIA and against the Pentagon. Third, it confirms the intense hypocrisy of the State Department – diplomats demanding the military unilaterally and illegally topple a legitimate government so it can do its job! You can’t make this stuff up?
Q.: A sentence in the “dissent channel” letter claims, “[A] judicious use of standoff and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed US-led diplomatic process.” What do make of this?
A.: Obviously this is part-and-parcel of America’s toxic groupthink diplomacy – bomb your opponent to the peace table no matter the cost in lives and the unintended consequences. Since of the start of the Syrian conflict – which was not peaceful as the media and their low-octane minions claim in thinktankistan – the State Department has sought the overthrow of the secular Damascus government and its president Assad. The know-nothing State Department functionaries claim the Syrian government violates the agreed to ceasefire. There is no mention of who actually violates the ceasefire agreement. Ahrar al Sham, al-Nusra and other Washington-backed “moderates” broke the ceasefire when attacking Syrian government troops south of Aleppo. These are facts, but the real sin committed by the Syrian Arab Army is its attacks on al-Qaeda’s Nusra front – the US-backed forces that fight alongside al-Qaeda. It is glaring and very telling that the “dissenters” never demand Washington-backed “moderate” rebels in Syria to stop intermingling with al-Qaeda and its related forces. Of course the reason for this is transparent: If they did, the Russian air force would in short order destroy these terrorists.
Q.: Commenting on the “dissent channel” letter the New York Times mused: [T]he State Department officials argued that military action against Mr. Assad would help the fight against the Islamic State because it would bolster moderate Sunnis, who are necessary allies against the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Is there a strategy imbedded in this statement?
A.: There sure is! And it is called history tragically repeating itself – remember Libya? Let’s recall the stupefying rhetoric justifying NATO’s destruction of the country: the need to bolster democratic-minded forces that would seamlessly result in a moderate political order held together by a representative government. That was a fantasy prognosis that ended in turning Libya into a fail state. Also, the “dissenters” (intentionally?) undermine the Obama Administration’s iffy justification for involving itself in the Syrian conflict in the first place: ISIL has been defined as a threat to US security and fighting it is a political imperative. Logically speaking, if Assad is the real immediate threat and not ISIL, then this intervention is as illegal as past American interventions in the region. So, secular Syria under Assad threatens the US, not radical jihadist extremists? There is no legal basis allowing the US to bomb the Syrian government and its people. If the “dissenters” have one in mind, they remain silent on this important issue. (By the way, the claim the Syrian conflict is sectarian-driven is pure and utter nonsense – this is about an unprovoked attack and attempted destruction of a sovereign state by Washington. Full stop!)
Q.: The New York Times goes on to say about the letter: “The State Department officials insisted in their memo that they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action to keep Mr. Assad in line.”
I believe Russia’s Syria policy is very much behind the reason to draft this letter and its release to the media. Russia has acted in accordance with established international law when accepting the request from a United Nations member state for military assistance. Russia is the reason the current legal government in Damascus is still in power. But this does not mean Syria is a Russian “client state” in the region as so many politicians and mindless media presstitutes endlessly repeat. Russia has achieved a modicum of political, diplomatic, and military success in Syria. Though there are limits to which Russia will accept to maintain and capitalize on that success. Under no circumstances will Russia allow Syria to become “Putin’s War.” This is what the “dissenters” really want. They dangerously want to force Russia’s hand; they want Russia to experience a painful defeat in a conflict choreographed in Washington’s air-conditioned offices. Russia won’t take the bait, but nor will it be shy if Washington wants to play a game of chicken with Moscow. If Washington wants to up the ante, there is every reason to believe – based on what has happened over the past five years – it will fail. The only question that remains is who will pay the price for such continued incompetence?
Q.: What about the timing of this letter? It certainly did not come out of the blue.
A.: As far as I am concerned Obama’s foreign policy has been an abject failure. The man simply has a muddled mind and relies on the worst possible foreign policy advisors. And he never takes any responsibility for his actions and lack of action. This has emboldened the neocons and members of the foreign policy establishment. Obama is weak and indecisive – and they know it. I am betting Obama has more golfing appointments on his daily itinerary than official meetings with his national security staff. In the meantime, a soft coup against him by his own State Department is beginning to play out. Obama will probably not resist. If he does, then the neocons and the know-nothing nobodies at the State Department wait with bated breath for a real and committed warmonger to reside in the White House – Hillary Clinton.
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program “CrossTalk.” His views may or may not reflect those of his employer.