Rudyard Kipling’s 1888 novel The Man Who Would Be King remains an instructive story for followers of contemporary events. Not only does the novel give an insight into the arrogance of western imperialism, more importantly, it is illustrative of how hubris and ambition can lead people blindly into infamy and failure. This is especially true of those who employ deception in the name of might, in order to achieve their goals.
The plot revolves around two British adventurers who hatch a plot to become Kings of Kafiristan. Everything was going a bit too well until one of the men was set to marry a native woman against her will. Terrified at the thought of being married to a King, she bit her would-be husband causing him to bleed. The people of Kafiristan held that a King cannot bleed, his flesh was thought to be different than that of men. Upon seeing him bleed they knew he was a man and a deceptive one at that. There was no happy ending.
Days ago, Fidel Castro died and today the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed monumental gains against terrorists who once held large parts of eastern Aleppo. 90,000 people who lived under the black flag of al-Nusra/al-Qaeda, are once again living in a bruised but not broken Syrian Arab Republic. Whilst these two events may seem unrelated, they tell a single tale. It is possible to defy the neo-imperialism of western powers, maintain national independence and win crucial battles against evil.
Castro was the man the US tried desperately to kill, but they failed again and again. Castro survived many of his enemies and died in peace at an advanced age. When western fangs were sunk deep into Syria, at one point it looked likely that Bashar al-Assad would go the way of Allende, Najeebullah, Saddam and Gaddafi. Now the idea that ‘Assad Must Go’ seems fanciful. Assad will stay and if and when he goes, he will likely go peacefully and of his own accord, just as Castro retired voluntarily in 2008.
This proves that the seemingly invincible West is ruled not by Kings nor Devils but by men, men who can bleed, fail and fade before the eyes of their seemingly smaller and weaker opponents. More and more people around the world are starting to realise this. It’s why a world which seemed to revolve around the axis of US and European power is becoming multi-polar in terms of strength and in terms of the direction from whence geo-political leadership derives.
For too long, the West has been led by men pretending to be kings. It is the kings who walk amongst men, individuals like Castro and Assad, who have shown the world that western leaders do not always win and that there is some measure of justice in the world, however difficult it is to attain.