FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation

The historical parallel for Syria today is the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s, a dress rehearsal for the building wider conflict, only now with the key players arranged differently and ideology scrambled to account for these differences. Nazism is no longer a factor, its place assigned to America in mobilizing incipient world forces of fascism to confront a Left alternative to counterrevolution and unrestrained capitalism. There is no Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight alongside Republican defenders of democratic government. Obama is Franco, regime change the focus shaping Western alignment (US-EU-NATO) to destroy, not Revolution or Communism per se (both practically nonexistent as Russia evolves through significant mixed and capitalist elements far removed from dynamic socialism), but Russia nonetheless in the cross-hairs still, as, along with China, blocking US unilateral world hegemony as the vanguard for a militarized, advanced-capitalist system founded on the purging of Left social-economic movements and governments. The vision is totalitarian: anything that interferes with domination, pure and simple, of the West, the US as its epicenter, with respect to Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Third World as conveniently defined to include whatever lies outside the boundaries of the West, must be kept in check, ultimately retarded in autonomous development, isolated from each other and sanitized to ensure subordination and servility.

Assad is hardly Fidel or Che in the postmodern world, but Syria’s secularism, by breaking the mold of the Middle East, incites America, like the red cape in the bullfighter’s ring, which finds even ISIS more manageable to deal with, because already a part of the geopolitical landscape, than a state model that rejects religion as the basis for social organization. Secularism has the potential for liberation, perhaps democratization as well, while religion, notwithstanding an extremist expression, as in ISIS, supports a generalized status quo compatible with varying shades of repression, Israel and Saudi Arabia, though among themselves nominally different, archetypal expressions of—from the Western geostrategic standpoint—acceptable modes of said repression. The passionate hatred displaced on Assad, when every tinhorn dictator gets a Washington ovation and get-out-of-jail card free no questions asked, rightly should arouse one’s suspicions. Like pre-World War II Spain, Syria has become the global hot spot, as though now, Assad provides the excuse for going head-to-head with Russia, China in the background as the next adversary to be contained, isolated, if possible, subjugated, like Russia, preferably short of global nuclear conflagration. But who knows, capitalist ideology now so ferociously believed and acted on, that even nuclear annihilation can be stumbled into, if not deliberately headed for, as proof positive of systemic moral virtue.

Putin was not originally cut out for democratic world leadership (the KGB does not deserve a free pass), but as the global dynamics of great-powers confrontation take shape and fall into place, he, almost by default, has already assumed that role and increasingly represents a voice of sanity in arresting the surge of Western (US-led) power toward a bi-level world operationally recapitulating past colonialism harnessed to up-to-date multinational market aggrandizement and accompanying financial ground-rules both supported through control over international organization (a domesticated UN or its equivalent) and parallel institutions (IMF, World Bank, and trade-agreement machinery, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership). This is beginning to look like Lenin’s concept of ultra-imperialism, except that Lenin was no match for our present-day political-military-financial Cold War honchos. I don’t know whether Putin and Xi are, but at least they are free of any illusions that the West seeks a genuine accommodation of peaceful relations, rather than take-no-prisoners conquest. The downing of the Russian jet (no, not the bombing of the passenger jet two weeks ago, but the plane two days ago) is a clear harbinger of things to come: provocation piled on provocation, ISIS not thoroughly vanquished, so as to provide an opportunity for further military expansion and internal police tightening in response until a crisis point is reached and events take over.

The plane downing, I sensed before Putin made the charge, had all the earmarks of having been planned in advance, i.e., the contingency provided for via approval of the US and NATO, and not Erdogan’s decision to be made alone, specifically for the purpose of preventing the unity of response between Russia and the West in the wake of the Paris massacre. Events move fast, but even Paris or similar attack was not unforeseen, so that EU/US rapprochement with Russia had to be avoided at all cost. Obama, no longer Franco, is perhaps von Ribbentrop, coyly biding time as the knife turns. (Putin was not far from the truth when he said that he and Russia were stabbed in the back.) I have said before, counterterrorism is the cosmitized, dressed-up version of anticommunism, through cultural-ideological lag a still useful weapon against both Russia and China abroad, radicals, dissenters, whistleblowers at home. Syria will find its parallel in the South China Sea, whatever it takes to foster xenophobia and false consciousness as preparatory to an aggressive posture in world affairs.

Putin will not abandon Assad. Xi will not accept economic-military encirclement. If I had my druthers, Russia would cut off oil and natural gas shipments to the West until it conceded that Russia had a right to exist free from the NATO menace at its borders, neo-fascist threats from Ukraine, and terrorist attacks from Chechnya, while China would strengthen its economic role in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, tearing apart the fabric of American hegemony and forcing it to live within its means—the best thing that could ever happen to it if a democratic society is to be achieved. Eight hundred military bases (and still counting) under bipartisan dispensation, with the full consent of the American people, will lead to more soup kitchens, cries of neglect and desperation in the streets, deteriorating standards of health and well-being, on one hand, enveloping monopolism, waste, environmental ruin, habituation to intervention, covert action, and regime change, on the other, all as a recipe for societal disaster and impending war.

More articles by:

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

April 26, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
As Trump Berates Iran, His Options are Limited
Daniel Warner
From May 1968 to May 2018: Politics and Student Strikes
Simone Chun – Kevin Martin
Diplomacy in Korea and the Hope It Inspires
George Wuerthner
The Attack on Wilderness From Environmentalists
CJ Hopkins
The League of Assad-Loving Conspiracy Theorists
Richard Schuberth
“MeToo” and the Liberation of Sex
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Sacred Assemblies in Baghdad
Dean Baker
Exonerating Bad Economic Policy for Trump’s Win
Vern Loomis
The 17 Gun Salute
Gary Leupp
What It Means When the U.S. President Conspicuously and Publicly Removes a Speck of Dandruff from the French President’s Lapel
Robby Sherwin
The Hat
April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail