A multipolar world is being born in front of our eyes. Russia has effectively shunted its Western counterparts aside and taken over the mantle of leadership in the international struggle against terrorism and extremism, drawing a line in the sand against regime change in Syria in the process.
If hypocrisy were an Olympic sport the gold medal would undoubtedly be the personal possession of Washington and its allies. They howl at the moon in response to Russia’s military intervention, while siding with the Saudi reactionary kleptocracy, Erdogan’s opportunism, and Israeli expansionism in a region beset by strife.
They regale us with talk of moderate rebels in Syria being attacked, which in the Syrian context means the al-Qaeda affiliate, Jahbat al-Nusra, or the Saudi and Turkish trained and financed Army of Conquest. They go into paroxysms of indignation of the encroachment of Turkish airspace by Russian fighter aircraft, even though they have been encroaching on Syrian airspace at will for weeks without end.
Just as there was no revolution in Libya, there has never been a revolution in Syria – uprisings, yes, revolutions, no. Neither met the test of popular support to qualify them as revolutions, and both came on the back of an Arab Spring that ran out of steam when it reached Benghazi in eastern Libya in 2011. From then on the region was pitched into a counter revolutionary process, driven by the forces of reaction, using the chaos and flux of the Arab Spring as a cover on the way to effecting regime change.
The gates of hell were opened as a consequence, out of which emerged the Frankenstein’s monster of ISIS as the culmination of over a decade of sectarian conflict, societal collapse, and dislocation.
Many progressives fell into the trap of mistaking counter-revolution for revolution, holding rigidly to an analysis of events that may have been correct when it came to Egypt and the fall of Mubarak, but was no longer relevant when it came to Libya and the fall of Gaddafi. They were found guilty of standing still in the midst of fast moving events, a fatal condition for anyone trying to accurately discern their trajectory. As the man said, “There are decades in which nothing happens, and weeks in which decades happen.”
In 2011 we were living through such weeks.
It is remarkable to consider the extent to which the world has changed since 9/11. We all remember when George W Bush emerged from his bunker deep in the Midwest three days after the attack, surveying the world along with his clique of crazed neocons with the imperial hubris of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. When Bush proclaimed that you are either with us or with the terrorists, he gave voice to a strategy of reshaping the world in America’s image that had been on the table since the mid 1990s in the form of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). It was drawn up by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld et al. in response to the demise of the Soviet Union, heralding a golden age of Pax Americana and the unipolarity which US hawks had long since coveted.
9/11 was merely the starting pistol, the pretext required to embark on it, involving the world with all its complexities and challenges being reduced to a giant chessboard upon which regimes and governments that dared resist US hegemony could be moved and removed at will.
The results in 2015 are there for all to see. Instead of being led into that golden age of Pax Americana, humanity has been led down a dark alley into a swamp of unremitting conflict, chaos, and barbarism, measured in a toll of human suffering that has been biblical in scope. Stable societies rendered destabilized, millions displaced, a refugee crisis that evinces no sign of abating anytime soon, accompanied by the normalization of an inhuman level of bestiality.
As such the term Russian imperialism is a complete misnomer.
On the contrary, Russia’s intervention in Syria, unlike the West’s, is at the official and express request of the internationally recognised sovereign Syrian government. It stands as a beacon of sanity and stability in a world gone mad, and constitutes the only hope when it comes to saving Syria and pushing back against a reactionary axis comprising Washington, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
You are with Assad the butcher, they say. No, I am with the people who are with Assad – the millions of Syrians who do not have the luxury of approaching revolution as a parlour game, who though they may wish to see political transition and democratic reform in Syria, understand that such transition and reform will never take place if the country is allowed to descend into the abyss.
The moral high ground the West has claimed in its criticism of Russia’s military intervention has been exposed as nothing more than a smouldering, stinking dung heap of hypocrisy and double standards.
Imperial hubris has proved their undoing.