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War of the Worlds — the masks are ripped away in Syria

In recent weeks, the battle for Aleppo has exposed the true heart of contemporary global politics with vivid clarity.

Andrey Fomin

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Submitted by Oriental Review

The US Air Force’s duplicitous September 17 attack on Syrian army positions near Deir ez-Zor, the hysterical outcry against Russia that erupted from the Pentagon, the US State Department’s undisguised threats against the Russian contingent in Syria, the Western media’s candid reports about arms shipments to al-Nusra militants, and the phantasmagoric drama in the UN Security Council on October 8 all point to just one thing: there are no international coalitions against ISIL- there is only the Russian army and its allies who are taking a stand against the international terrorism used as a tool by the US and NATO.

The contours of today’s biggest international conflict are clear. But still not everyone understands its core and causes. The conventional wisdom – that a decrepit global hegemon was unable to export “democracy” into a stable nation and now finds itself at a dead end – does not actually explain very much.

But why did that stumbling block turn out to be Syria, which is certainly not the most significant country in the world? Why isn’t it, for example, Egypt that is under attack, where “fighters for democracy” from the Muslim Brotherhood have been unable to consolidate their victory and have even had to cede power to the powerful and far from pro-American government?

Why is Russia the country that is standing up to the aggressor? After all, Russia was on the verge of collapse not so long ago and is in no way a major competitor to the Western economy. And why is the United States pushing so fiercely to raise the stakes, driving the planet to the brink of a third world war?
And yes, of course, many Middle East experts can rattle off a whole list of potential answers to all these “whys.” But upon careful analysis it becomes clear that they are only the footnotes to what is actually the main reason.

The first and most frequent argument cited is the oil and gas factor. Allegedly, the surfeit of reserves in Syria has made that country a desirable goal for the West, which – in the wake of Iraq and Libya – could cash in on Syria’s hydrocarbons, now that it has wiped out the local government. But in fact there are only 2.5 billion barrels of proven reserves of that oil in Syria, which is 0.1% of the global total.

And that is clearly not enough to explain the outbreak of a terrorist intervention in Syria: if the West were only focused on oil, it would be more logical to orchestrate such an export of democracy into Venezuela, which sits on 17.5% of the world’s reserves.

It is also surmised that the rationale for the aggression could be traced back to Damascus’s 2009 refusal to allow a gas pipeline running from Qatar to Europe to cross its borders. But that would also be an overstatement. That disagreement might have been a motivation for the Qataris, but hardly the West. That gas-pipeline project is itself so risky that it could perhaps have served as a bluff or pretext, but not as a serious reason to launch a multi-year terrorist campaign against Assad.

There has been a popular trend in recent years to examine any conflict for traces of oil and to blame those hydrocarbon deposits for all tribulations, but that is an oversimplification and is similar to the monetarist approach to the economy, in which all the complexities of economic relations are evaluated exclusively in terms of debits and credits.

With regard to global politics however, oil is only meaningful as a tool (although an important one) for safeguarding interests and reaching geopolitical goals: Hitler was desperate to reach the oil fields in Baku, not for their own sake, but to cut off Moscow’s access and thus deal a death blow to the USSR.
It is unacceptable to conflate tools and goals because this creates a distraction from the truth.

Far less significant as an explanation of the war in Syria – which is on the verge of blowing up into a global conflict – are the arguments citing, for example, the legitimate internal animosities within Syria and within the region, or the spread of Islamism and the collapse of the state in Iraq, a country that is now a breeding ground for the growth of extremism, or the confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites or Saudi Arabia and Iran, or overpopulation in the region, or water shortages, etc.

All of this, in varying degrees of course, contributes to the severity of the conflict, but it does not at all explain why troops from dozens of countries – including two of the most powerful, the US and Russia – are currently active in Syria.

There is a much more convincing explanation of the current strife in Syria, although it is not considered sufficiently scholarly. The wreckage of that country is of vital urgency to the supranational elites in order to fan the flames of chaos in the Middle East, which will make it possible to spread the forces of destabilization across all of Eurasia and help topple the alternative centers of economic power – especially China and Russia.

Supposedly the Federal Reserve cannot survive an inundation of debt, and the war in Syria is being used as a tool to destabilize any competitors in this economic showdown.

And indeed it was the Chinese economy that in 2014 outstripped America’s GDP, and it would seem that between these two economic behemoths – one falling and one rising – a military and political struggle had to ensue. Both American as well as Chinese political analysts have had a lot to say about this in recent years.

However, during the Syrian conflict – and this is an incontestable fact – China has kept itself far from the fray. For five whole years – and even during the current flare-up – Beijing has maintained its usual neutrality, merely lamenting the suffering of the Syrians and issuing condemnations of terrorism.

In economic terms Russia does not pose a genuine threat to the US, but in Syria it is indeed the Russian army that is the Americans’ biggest foe – the Chinese don’t figure into it at all there.

And looking at the situation geographically, the conflict in Syria could spread the contagion of ISIL into the Russian Caucasus (through a direct corridor that passes through Turkey) far more quickly than such a plague could enter, say, China’s more distant Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. By that logic, it would be smarter to promote ISIL in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a better starting point for funneling the terrorist chaos into China.

Moreover, it is quite safe to assume that if Russia were not such a significant geopolitical player today, Beijing would not have entered into a confrontation with the US over Syria, but would have instead come to an agreement with the West even on the basis of a compromise that was not very advantageous for China, taking the historical long view to bet on the inevitable attenuation of Western civilization.

For Russia however, the conflict with the West has absolutely nothing to do with economics. It is inane to suggest that the Russian economy, despite all its genuine progress over the past 15 years, poses a threat to the US global economy, in which China still plays an integral part.

Yes, geopolitical associations such as BRICS could potentially topple the currency system established at the Jamaica Conference, as well as the Washington consensus, but again this is not economic competition, but the financial projection of a military and political showdown.

But what is at its core? Why is Russia once again at the epicenter of a global conflict that is threatening to boil over? Why has the Russian state – which underwent a painful transformation in the late 20th century from which it has yet to fully recover – been forced to withstand the attack of a hegemon that steers international developments and possesses far more advanced tools of confrontation?

To understand the essence of what is happening, one must ultimately acknowledge that the actions of those in the top echelon of Western civilization – not the clerks laboring at the State Department and Pentagon, but the true managers of the Pax Americana global project, who are viewed as utter pragmatists – are in fact dictated by very specific ideals and ultimate goals.

Their words about American exceptionalism as the ideal free society, the beacon of democracy, and the Earth’s last hope are more than just nice catchphrases and advertising jingles – they represent their sense of themselves as a special force on this planet. Back in the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards declared that Americans had taken the place of the Jews as God’s chosen people. And even America’s Founding Fathers saw in their work the culmination of the history of the world.

By the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, who accused the Soviet Union of being an “evil empire,” was clearly claiming the role of the “good empire” for the US. In this sense, the Bushes, the Clintons, and Obama are not inventing anything new, only using different words to express this very American messianism.

A natural expression of this ideology can be seen throughout the foreign policy of the modern US as “an exporter of democracy” and the world’s referee and policeman. The seizure of resources, oil, and gas – as well as financial rewards – are just bonuses and a tool to help attain these ideals.

The key concept is “freedom,” around which the remainder of the construct of “exclusivity” is built. This is communicated as human freedom (i.e., as a blessing), but actually the “rulers of the world” understand this as freedom of capital, i.e., a policy of “anything goes” for homo economicus. According to them, the ideal world should be a market for goods and services, in which a human being is himself both of these. Money becomes the equivalent of every manifestation of the universe as well as its primary essence.

Everything that is designated as pragmatism is actually derived from this “monetary” understanding of life.
However, the expansion of money – in a spatial and a spiritual dimension – is not restricted to today’s profits but pursues its main goal at any cost, which is to utterly engulf the world and reformat mankind into a financial mechanism (that process itself is known as progress, which is analogous to the development of technology).

Is it worth even explaining that “freedom” and “progress” as understood in this way are utterly at odds with the entire 2,000-year path of Christianity and are lethal for humanity?

As a matter of fact, in recent decades Western civilization has moved toward a total rejection of Christianity under the guise of “tolerance” and toward the promotion of depravity under the guise of “gay rights”, while Russia has become the primary champion of traditional values and faiths.

Is it simply a coincidence that the onset of this major battle between the “freedom of capital” and “freedom of the soul” is coming to a head on Syrian soil where the Christian world took its first steps? Christianity was born amidst those rocks of the Middle Eastern Mediterranean region, and hundreds of years later we are seeing attempts to bury it there.

Interestingly, the ISIL ideologues, who were trained in the US prisons to selectively abuse the Quran verses, enjoy citing hadith 6924, which describes a battle between Good and Evil in the Syrian town of Dabiq. Are they – like those who hang upon their every word with gaping mouths – aware that they are merely the deceived cannon-fodder of the Devil in the Last Battle?

Are the multitudes who each day chomp away at the vacuous chewing gum known as CNN capable of grasping that history is not propelled by oil or fleeting interests, but by a battle between opposing principles, two forces that are pulling humanity in different directions – one down into the Gehenna and the other up to the Land o’ the Leal?

It is odd but true: over the course of the last few centuries only one power – Russia – has planted herself squarely in the path of those who declare themselves to be a “great blessing”, a “pure race”, or a “beacon of democracy” while seeking to subjugate humanity.

Historians can spend all the time they want trying to convince us of the objectivity of the emergence of Hitler and his eastern campaign, that the US and Great Britain did not notice his Nazi mischief and then carelessly helped the German economy by furnishing it with loans, but it is obvious that Hitler, like today’s ISIL, had been carefully groomed for an offensive against Russia. And after the Soviet army destroyed Hitler’s army, they were ready to do “the unthinkable” – to attack the USSR. They never took that plunge.

But in the initial postwar years they used the prospect of their atomic bomb to intimidate Moscow.
It is daft to try to explain away such infamy as merely the consequence of the standoff between the communist and capitalist systems, because as we saw after the collapse of the Soviet Union – communism was no more, but Russia was still the enemy.

“To save the world from the unmitigated spread of evil” – such is the global mission and the fate of the Russian nation and the Russian state as a historical phenomenon. This fate was not chosen, but Russia is destined to once again save the world from destruction – otherwise she would no longer be Russia.

This in no way implies the infallibility or exceptionalism of Russians themselves, since the battle is taking place within them as well, but it confers upon that nation a special responsibility for the fate of the whole world. The fact of this mission explains the irrational, savage hatred of Russia and of Russians that inflames the global “superclass” and that is reflected in the terabytes of militant propaganda they pay for each day.

It is important for all rational citizens of the world to understand that when they watch the news from Syria, the real issue is not about Assad or Syria as such, nor even about the national interests of a nation state. The issue is about the metaphysical standoff between the two principles of this universe. It is about the war of the worlds. In which every citizen will have to make his own existential choice.

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America the Punitive

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common?

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict. The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama’s relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically, with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along. It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative assumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes. There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America’s wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country’s debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015. One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. Given Washington’s diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation. As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

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NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact

NATO expansion continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Through the 1990s, during the terms of US President Bill Clinton, NATO relentlessly and inexorably expanded through Central Europe. Today, the expansion of that alliance eastward – encircling Russia with fiercely Russo-phobic regimes in one tiny country after another and in Ukraine, which is not tiny at all – continues.

This NATO expansion – which the legendary George Kennan presciently warned against in vain – continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war. Far from bringing the United States and the Western NATO allies increased security, it strips them of the certainty of the peace and security they would enjoy if they instead sought a sincere, constructive and above all stable relationship with Russia.

It is argued that the addition of the old Warsaw Pact member states of Central Europe to NATO has dramatically strengthened NATO and gravely weakened Russia. This has been a universally-accepted assumption in the United States and throughout the West for the past quarter century. Yet it simply is not true.

In reality, the United States and its Western European allies are now discovering the hard way the same lesson that drained and exhausted the Soviet Union from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to its dissolution 36 years later. The tier of Central European nations has always lacked the coherence, the industrial base and the combined economic infrastructure to generate significant industrial, financial or most of all strategic and military power.

In fact the current frustrating experience of NATO, and the long, exhausting tribulations that faced Soviet diplomats and generals for so many decades was entirely consistent with the previous historical record going back at least until 1718.

From 1718 until 1867 – a period of a century and a half – most of Central Europe, including even regions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, were consolidated within the Austro –Hungarian Empire, However even then, the Habsburg multi-national empire was always militarily weak and punched beneath its weight. After Emperor Franz Josef recklessly proclaimed his famous Compromise of 1867, the effectiveness of the imperial army was reduced to almost zero. The autonomous and feckless conduct of the Hungarian aristocracy ensured a level of confusion, division, incompetence and ineptitude that was revealed in the army’s total collapse against both Russia and Serbia in the great battles of 1914 at the start of World War I.

Germany moved in to occupy and consolidate the region in both world wars. But far from making Germany a global giant and enabling it to maintain its domination of Europe, the Central European regions – whether as part of Austro-Hungary during World War I or as independent nation-states allied to the Nazis in World War II – proved miniscule and worthless against the alliances of Russia, the United States, Britain and France that the Germans fought against in both global conflicts.

After the Soviet Union militarily destroyed the genocidal military power of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia’s Great Patriotic War, the political consolidation of East Germany and Poland were strategically necessary for Russia’s security. But occupying and organizing the rest of the region was not. Far from strengthening the Soviet Union, those nations weakened and distracted it. Today, NATO is repeating the Soviet Mistake and that fatal move is inexorably draining the alliance of all its strength and credibility.

NATO is also repeating the disastrous mistake that France made in 1920-21 when it created a “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania to supposedly counterbalance the revival of Germany. The plan failed completely.

Today those very same nations – enthusiastically joined by Hungary, Poland and the three little Baltic states – are relentlessly distorting both NATO and the EU. They generate weakness and chaos in the alliances they are in – not unity and strength.

As I have noted before in these columns, the great British historian Lord Correlli Barnett drew the important distinction between militarily powerful nations that are generators and exporters of security and those, either tiny or disorganized, pacifist and weak nations that have to import their security from more powerful states.

One might call such small countries “feeder” or “parasite” states. They siphon off energy and strength from their protector partners. They weaken their alliance partners rather than strengthening them.

The consistent lessons of more than 300 years of Central European history are therefore clear: Leading and organizing the tier of Central European nations in the Warsaw Pact did not strengthen the Soviet Union: Instead, those activities relentlessly weakened it.

Incorporating most of the small nations in Central Europe into any empire or alliance has never been a cause or generator of military or national strength, regardless of the ideology or religious faith involved. At best, it is a barometer of national strength.

When nations such as France, Germany, the Soviet Union or the United States are seen as rising powers in the world, the small countries of Central Europe always hasten to ally themselves accordingly. They therefore adopt and discard Ottoman Islamic imperialism. Austrian Christian imperialism, democracy, Nazism, Communism and again democracy as easily as putting on or off different costumes at a fancy dress ball in Vienna or Budapest.

As Russia rises once again in global standing and national power, supported by its genuinely powerful allies China, India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the nations of Central Europe can be anticipated to reorient their own loyalties accordingly once again.

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Why Russia will NOT fall victim to emerging markets financial crisis (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 81.

Alex Christoforou

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As the Turkish Lira collapses, sending emerging market economies into turmoil, Russia is being slapped with additional US sanctions dubbed the US Congress ‘bill from hell’.

The full text the newest sanctions bill has been released. The sanctions are deliberately designed to punish Russia’s economy for a Skripal poisoning hoax for which no evidence of Russian state involvement has been presented. The new bill even goes so far as to suggest designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The “sanctions bill from hell” officially entitled ‘Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018’ was introduced by a group of Republican and Democratic senators on the 2nd of August.

According to RT, the bill would place restrictions on US cooperation with Russia’s oil industry, target Russian sovereign debt transactions as well as Russian uranium imports. In addition, the legislation calls for sanctions against “political figures, oligarchs, and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris explain why, unlike the financial meltdown in Turkey, Russia is well equipped and properly prepared to weather the US sanctions storm… and may, in the end, come out of the latest emerging markets turmoil stronger and more independent from western petrodollar control than ever before.

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Via RT

The bill, which was recently published in full on Congress’ official website, also pledges full support for NATO and would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate if the United States ever wishes to exit the transatlantic alliance.

The legislation also declares that “the United States will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation” and that Washington, in conjunction with NATO, should “prioritize efforts to prevent the further consolidation of illegal occupying powers in Crimea.”

The pending ‘Kremlin Aggression Act’ decrees that Congress should also determine whether Russia “meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The bill also accused Russia of “enabling the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to commit war crimes,” adding that Moscow has shown itself to be “incapable or unwilling” to compel Assad to “stop using chemical weapons against the civilian population in Syria.”

The Act calls for a congressional committee to investigate “alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity attributable to [Russia]” and resolves to “punish the Government of the Russian Federation for, and deter that Government from, any chemical weapons production and use through the imposition of sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and the use of the mechanisms specified in the Chemical Weapons Convention for violations of the Convention.”

The legislation is just the latest addition to a laundry list of sanctions and laws passed in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

Republican hawk Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who both sponsored the bill, said in a joint statement that the legislation is designed to show that the US will “not waver in our rejection of [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future.” The Russia-obsessed Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) was one of the five co-sponsors of the bill.

Moscow has brushed off the new wave of accusations as a projection of internal US struggle. Some elements in the US government are trying to “keep afloat” the conspiracy that Russia meddled in the US elections, in hopes of derailing constructive relations with Moscow and using the issue “purely for internal American purposes,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Upper House Committee for International Relations, has said in response to the latest sanctions.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the adoption of any US legislation that targets Russian banking operations and currency trade would be considered a declaration of economic war.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said last week. “Our American friends should make no mistake about it.”

Moscow has vowed to respond to any new sanctions. Russia’s Finance Ministry said it would continue to sell off its holdings of US Treasury securities, while some lawmakers have called for Russia and its allies to stop using the US dollar for mutual payments.

 

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