Friday, August 23, 2013

The Kicking In Of A Rotten Door. The Road To Damascus Part Eight: Paul Get Gassed

The Arab Spring was fun while it lasted but now that it impinges on the prerogatives of the Global Elites it just has to go; by any means necessary. Ah the salad days when clueless politicians were all goo-goo eyed and dreamy about democracy finally coming to the Near East. Fun times no? The oppressed multitudes of the Arab lands were going to throw off their chains and we we would all walk off in to the sunset, arm in arm, munching on a hotdog and washing it down with a coke. But then, suddenly, we remembered the Demos part of Democracy, that is the inconvenient truth of the actual people who live in the area.

From our elites down we all forgot the history of these people. We had amnesia about the one hundred years of Colonial and NeoColonial rule. We forgot how many of these alleged nations were made out of whole cloth by the victors of WWI and had no legitimacy to speak of. We forgot how warped and twisted the polity of these lands became due to the long, hard, freeze of the cold war. We forgot that the only viable counter to the despots was not Liberal Democratic movements but hard-edged, reactionary, anti-modern Islamic fundamentalists of the Salafi sort. We might have killed the functionality of Al Qaeda but we did not kill the ideology of the movement.

The history of the region has come to bite us hard in Syria. Syria is exactly one of those lands whose existence is due to muddle-headed Colonialist jury rigging. It is the results of France wanting a play toy in the Region. Nothing good could have come of a mostly Islamic people being ruled over by Roman Catholic Europeans. The French came, they conquered, they departed-- leaving a hot mess.

The Post Colonial history of Syria is the unification of disparate people by force major. Before the weird mix of the Assad regime came to fore, that of Alawi sectarians ruling via a Arab Nationalist and Socialist Baathist structure, Syria was in Chaos. The Syrians changed their government about as often as they changed their underwear. But give the murdering bastard and founder of the Assad Clan his due, he put an end to all that.

But death comes to us all and his son and the successor did not have the chops of dear old dad. Well, he did not until now. But at first he seemed shocked to find that his oppressed masses were not all that into him. When the protesters took to streets he was rattled and willing to at least talk about reform. But the masses did not want reform, they wanted  Bashar Assad, actually they just wanted his head--preferable on a pike.

Bashar took exception to this and began the long, slow counter revolution that is bulldozing its way across the land. It started badly with the Government losing lots of ground to the rebels and damn-near losing the whole thing. But the indiscriminate use of air power and a helping hand from the Iranians turned the civil war around.

Of course the Hamlet of the White House was shocked, shocked I tell you, that Assad would resort to such behavior. He drew a line in the sand telling Bashar to be a good boy and not use any kind of WMD or he would be in real trouble. But before Obama could pull the belt from his pants RealPolitik reared its ugly head. Seems those oh so wonderful freedom fighters had a few scurvy dog pirates among them. Oh bother, there seemed to be a passel of Radical Salafi Jihadi tearing around doing some rather obnoxious things in Syria. And look over there, our buddies, our pals, the Saudis are funding this lot in furthering the old Sunni-Shia feud that had gone on since the year 680 of the Common Era. (61 AH for the fans of the Islamic Calendar.) And look over there, it’s the Chinese and the Russians supporting Assad in the UN in furtherance of their interests. And what’s that? The Gulf States have joined the Saudis in support of undermining Iran? And Iran along with “liberated” Iraq have come to aid of the Assad to prevent the Sunni encroachment? Where are the guys with the white hats again? Sorry, it’s Black Hats all around. Right. Great. What to do with that line in the sand again?

Well if you’re Obama you fudge. Red line, I don’t see any red line. Did the Syrians really cross it? Uh, let’s, er, Investigate. Yes, that’s the ticket, we’ll have the UN investigate! The Russians and Chinese won’t object-- oh, they did? How does that great power game go again?

If the results of Obama’s flopping and twitching were not so serious this would be hilarious. But because real people are dying in horrible, painful ways it is no longer funny; if it is still a farce. I thought I never have to surrender a talking point to the Right, but the facts require me to do so. Obama is clueless on foreign policy, he lacks the chops. The man could not find the long term national interests of the United States if you painted it fluorescent orange and lit the whole mess with a hundred thousand watt black light.

The only cold comfort I have is that Obama shares this lack of vision with every other denizen of the fever swamps of the Potomac. Our government, as Dan Carlin keeps pointing out, is utterly corrupt. It serves only the limited interest of the upper .1% of the land. It serves crony capitalism, the corporate elite, the financial elite, and no one else. This is a subset that only cares about preserving and expanding its outsized power and damn the consequences. All around the world it is the same rotten, corrupt and amoral gang. It is the same bunch of egomaniacs and borderline sociopaths running the show.

Assad will most likely get away with this war crime. Obama will let him because he values short term stability over long term justice. More to the point Obama’s Wall Street backers, who own him lock-stock-and-barrel value that stability and are willing to hurt, maim and kill to get it. All for the greater glory of a 20% return on investment.

But the kindling is only getting larger dear reader. The fire may be put out this time, but the fuel remains, and grows. If you follow history dear reader you know this song. You know the lyrics by heart. It is the death song of a civilization. It is the long slow dirge that ends in instruments being smashed and the stage set on fire. The next time we will pass Spring and go straight into the dog days of Summer. We will curse that day and the base fools that are our political and economic elites who allowed it to occur.
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