The war in Syria is often described as a holy war waged by Salafist Jihadists who want to impose a dark and frankly blasphemous version of Sunni Islam on the wider community of moderate Sunni’s, Shia Muslims, including Alawites, Christians, and secularists. But in spite of the declared Islamism of the opponents of President Assad’s secular, tolerant government, the war is all about power, resources, and money.
It is why the tyrannical states of the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are happy to fund the terrorist groups occupying parts of Syria. It is colonialism justified by an un-Godly version of Islam. No one, least of all true Muslims, should buy into the lie. The Islamic State is frankly neither Islamic nor a state.
By contrast, in America, there is a holy war transpiring and it is not a recent phenomenon, but under Donald Trump, it has taken on a new, internationalized character.
Many people underestimate the importance of religion in the political alignments of a vast number of Americans. This is especially true among registered Republicans and independent conservatives who often consult the Bible rather than a newspaper before going to the polls.
I can already hear the laughs of those in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles who feel their atheism, agnosticism or hedonism makes them superior to the God fearing Christians of middle America. But this is no laughing matter for those who take world affairs seriously and it shouldn’t be a laughing matter for anyone who would rather see Trump in the White House than a Hillary clone.
Religion, a theme which tends to disproportionally dominate US elections vis-à-vis neighboring Canada and European states with similar living standards, was surprisingly absent in the Presidential election of 2016.
This was largely due to the fact that Donald Trump, whilst a Christian, grew up in the multi-religious melting pot of New York. However, he promised that he would defend Christianity in America and his inaugural address was the most religiously orientated speech of his political life. His support among Christian voters surprised many skeptics.
How does this relate to Russia?
The Democrats, neo-con Republicans (think McCain and Graham), members of Trump’s team including Vice President Pence and elements of the military industrial complex are gung-ho for conflict with Russia. The lies told about Russia’s geopolitical actions are often totally ludicrous. The extent to which these bodies will go to prevent a more sensible US policy towards Russia from taking shape is wide reaching. Michael Flynn was the first political casualty of the Russophobic deep state’s war against Trump.
However, at a more grassroots level, many on the American liberal left are openly critical of Russia’s cultural conservatism and Christianity is an essential part of Russian culture.
One needn’t be reminded of how many on the American left rushed to the defense of the sick young women who called themselves ‘Pussy Riot’ who conducted an insulting act of blasphemy inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the most important holy sites in Russia and indeed in Orthodox Christianity.
If such an event took place in a church in America’s so-called Bible belt, the conclusion of such an incident may have been far different. It could have been much more violent.
Over the last hundred years, America’s Christians have become far more ecumenical. Previous divides between Catholic and Protestant and to some extent the Orthodox minority, have gradually transformed into a politically and culturally united front against the forces of post-modern ultra-liberalism who advocate the distribution of obscene materials, who try to censor the public celebrations of Christian feasts and whom often treat religious people with open disdain.
Many such American Christians know little of modern Russia and care even less, but a growing number who are curious, have found that Russia serves as an inspiration as Russia is a place where one can live as a conservative Christian without rejecting the modern world and its positive attributes and amenities.
Russia is an example of a successful, modern, wealthy, powerful, conservative Christian country that many US Republicans and independent conservatives would like America to be.
And this is where Trump could use a Trump card if only his advisers developed an imagination and learned a thing or two about history and geopolitics.
The same Democrats and leftist mainstream media who attack Russia, also attack the US Bible Belt. What’s more is that their visceral hatred of Russia is often derived directly from a hatred of conservatism and of religion.
Those who also want the US to scale back from aggressive posturing against Iran or China have not got this particular trump card as Iran is an Islamic Republic and China is a communist/atheist country. But modern Russia is neither. Russia is an increasingly Christian country and a moderately but unmistakably conservative one.
Were Donald Trump to communicate to his supporters that the anti-Russian brigades in Washington are the same people who deliver a vociferously anti-Christian message towards ordinary Americans, he would go a very long way in taking the wind out of the sails of the anti-Russian hysterics.
If he does this, the burden of proof will be instantly shifted from Trump to his opponents. Rather than having to either defend or backtrack on his desire to foster better relations with Russia, the ultra-liberals at CNN, New York Times and the Democratic Party would have to demonstrate why provoking a Christian, conservative superpower is in the interests of conservative Americans.
Such an argument would be virtually impossible to win unless one lies as Russia has no desire to cause America an iota of harm. Russia frankly threatens no one except the extremist terrorists that it is fighting alongside the Syrian government, a government which incidentally is widely supported by Syria’s besieged Christian minority.
The neo-cons would become irrelevant to some and suspicious to others should Trump make this appeal.
One needn’t be religious to understand the importance of this argument. It is an argument in the service of peace, more than anything else and what’s more, unlike the fake news merchants, it relies on factual realities rather than the alternative facts of those living in a parallel universe.
This is the key to Trump’s political survival and also the key to avoiding confrontation between nuclear superpowers.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.