Russia avoided the Syrian quagmire despite dire predictions. Putin minimised his footprint, his war is almost over, ISIL has been defeated. Trump could also exclaim “Mission is completed!” – and fly home. But it seems he is eager to rush in where angels fear to tread. Trump does not mind doing for the Israeli Prime Minister what his predecessors, whether Democrats or Republicans, refused, namely, fighting Israel’s war by indefinitely extending the hostile and illegal occupation of Syria.
He should have learned by now that foreign policy is not his forte. His liberal opponents at home effectively neutralise every move he does. Worse, his steps are counterproductive. He would achieve more if he were to forget about the world at large for a long while, and let the world forget about him.
Take, for instance, the Iranian protests. They appeared so dangerous for the regime, when the crowds called for resurrection of the late Shah and for withdrawal from Syria. They could have become dangerous, but they dissipated thanks to the timely intervention of President Trump. He had promptly expressed his support for the protesters.
Even the more pro-American segments of the European body politic have learned by now that the real American establishment never agrees with the real President Trump, and refused being drawn into human rights rhetoric and condemning Iran. We may quietly cheer the obnoxious Nikki Haley, who had succeeded in annoying the international community so much during the Jerusalem vote that her attempt to call the Security Council to arms miserably backfired.
The Russians and the Turks took Trump’s cue and denounced (otherwise almost non-existent) American intervention, while the Europeans stayed away. The Iranian protesters understood who would enjoy more riots and went back home, to deny Trump this pleasure. This was a very good outcome for the Russians who could have found themselves in dire straits in Syria without Iranian ground troops.
In Palestine, the steady genius of Trump achieved the near-impossible feat of forcing the Palestinian leadership’s withdrawal from the Oslo Accords. These miserable accords, blessed by the US and EU, and condemned by the late, great Edward Said, had been the basis of apartheid perpetuation in Israel/Palestine. As long as they were preserved, one couldn’t expect much change; they were the Iron Dome of Israeli politics, quipped an Israeli wit. Now they are dead and gone, and the new rules will be laid down, presumably with Russia’s participation.
The US-North Korean stand-off looked perilous, and the nuclear war appeared imminent. But Trump’s obvious insanity restored some sense to the troubled soul of South Korean president Moon. He understood that he was likely to become the president of incinerated Seoul, and called his North Korean counterpart for a friendly chat. The two Korean leaders exchanged virtual cigars and agreed to provide a joint team at the Olympic Games, to great disappointment of war-mongering Trump. This breakthrough encouraged the Russians and the Chinese so much that they refused to visit the Vancouver gathering; without them, the meeting had very little meaning, if any.
In Syria, the Russians came under the Attack of the Drones, which coincided with the government army offensive in the rebel-run Idlib province. The drones also came from Idlib, where the last act of the civil war is being played. Turkey was supposed to keep peace in Idlib, and the Turks were upset by the offensive. They said peace negotiations with the rebels were the only way to restore order; this suits the Russians who generally prefer to negotiate rather than fight. But Damascus does not believe in negotiations with the Islamist radicals; these radicals, a new reincarnation of al Qaeda, make impossible demands like “Assad must go”, and use the negotiation time to entrench. Confrontation between the Turks and ‘their’ rebels on one side, and the Russians and ‘their’ Syrians over Idlib was been looming and threatening.
Things could have become uncomfortable for the Russians, but here again, the US helped by declaring that they were arming and training a new rebel army in Syrian Kurdistan. Nothing spurs the Turks into action as fast as Kurdish moves. Just recently they succeeded in defeating Barzani’s attempt at creating an independent Kurdistan in Iraq, and now, Kurdistan Take Two, this time in Syria. Erdogan promised to drown the new Kurdish army under American leadership in rivers of blood and began gathering troops on the border of Afrin, the smaller Kurdish-held enclave. Even Erdogan was not sufficiently imprudent to confront both Russia and the US at once, and he patched up his relations with Putin. The Attack of the Drones has been re-assigned from the Turkish-supported rebels to the US-supported ones, as a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol plane had been in the air in that area at the right time. Thus the big danger of Russia-Turkey quarrel was averted, while US-Turkey enmity quickly rose.
This would be a very good time for the Americans to go home while the going is good. Turkey is much more important for the US than Syria could ever be; while for Israel it is other way around, Syria is more important. This was the moment of choice for President Trump: what does he treasure more, the US or Israel? The answer has been given in Rex Tillerson’s speech at Hoover Institution.
If until now, the official US position was that they came to Syria to defeat ISIS and then go home when the mission is completed, now we were disabused. Americans are not going anywhere. They will stay put forever, or until kicked out; another part of Syria, besides the Golan Heights, will be occupied.
“The US will maintain a military presence in Syria… We will not repeat the 2011 mistake of pulling out from Iraq. We shall strive for the diminishment of Iranian influence — the northern arch will be denied, and Syria’s neighbours [read: Israel] will be secure. [We will stay until] Syria is free from weapons of mass destruction… The US will not withdraw until Assad is gone”.
Thus, Sergey Lavrov’s assessment given last week, that Americans intend to dismember Syria, became true. “A course was set for the partition of Syria,” the Russian minister of foreign affairs said. Now this prediction turned into reality.
Well, what else is new? Americans never leave voluntarily. Whenever they come, they try and stay forever. They came to Philippines in 1898, and they are still there, despite many demands to get out. They came to Cuba in 1898, and they still stay there, despite many promises to leave blood-soaked Guantanamo. In 1945, they occupied Germany and Japan, and they are still there, only their puppets change. They came to South Korea, and they still stay there. They conquered Afghanistan in 2001, and they are still there.
Among many colonial powers, the US is the exceptional one by its stubborn stickiness. It is easier to get rid of a chewing gum that got stuck to your sole than the American presence.
It is difficult, but not impossible. The Vietnamese did it. It took them many years, five million of their own dead, fifty thousand dead American soldiers, ruination of their economy, destruction of forests, cities bombed, My Lai burned and raped, but they succeeded in dispatching the Yanks home.
The Lebanese did it. Just one successful suicide driver had got through the gate of the Marines’ encampment, and killed over two hundred Marines. The US gunboats bombarded unprotected Lebanese villages in the mountains, but afterwards the Yanks sailed home.
The Somalis did it. They downed a couple of Black Hawk helicopters and in a single day-long battle killed two dozen of America’s best. Afterwards, the Americans went home.
The question is how many dead bodies will Trump need in order to understand that there is no place like home, and that American presence in Syria is unwelcome. The Israelis will be upset if the Yanks leave. From the Israeli point of view there is nothing as good as an American military presence in Syria next door. But President Trump was elected by the Americans, and he has to make the right choice, the sooner the better.
Ben Cardin Spoils For a Fight
If after reading this far, you, my American reader, have had a moment of buyer’s regret for electing Trump, here comes another story to comfort you. Ben Cardin, a leading member of the Jewish Lobby, a Senator whose previous claim to fame had been authoring a bill that would have made it a felony to support a boycott of Israel, now took a new bold step. He has produced a very long report accusing Putin of interfering with the world and subverting democracy. It could be read like a pre-election advertisement for the smart Russian president. Alternatively, it is a call for stepping up warfare against Russia, for isolating her and sanctioning to the hilt.
Why is this prominent Jewish leader so keen to attack Russia? Putin seems to be a good buddy of Netanyahu, and Jews are happy in Russia. But these guys are not grateful.
In a recent piece, The Russia Insider chief editor Charles Bausman claimed that Jewry is on the forefront of the anti-Russia campaign. This long (5,000 words) piece annoyed a lot of people, encouraged a lot more, while some American Jews blamed Putin for its appearance. However, it is more complicated.
While indeed there are many ferociously anti-Russian and anti-Putin American Jews (Masha Gessen, Ben Cardin), they are usually a liberal lot, man-haters and anti-Trump to the (Max) Boot.
Pro-Trump Jews do not care much about Russia one way or other. They want Trump to fight wars for Israel in the Middle East.
If you find a non-Zionist and Russia-friendly American Jew, you have found a good and rare thing, and he is probably not a member of the Congress.
Just the thought that Mr Cardin and his lot would rule the US instead of Trump (in case of Ms Clinton’s victory) should cure your regrets.
And Cardin is dumber than Trump, too. Cardin’s accusations are dumb and trivial. Russians trying to influence US public opinion? What’s wrong with that? Every opinion-holding person tries to influence others, and these influences easily cross borders. Russians influence Americans, while Americans influence Russians. The US has much, much more influence in Russia (or anywhere else on this planet) than the other way around.
The Soviet Union of old wasn’t all that influential in the West (outside the narrow left-wing milieu), but modern Russia has much less influence than the USSR did, for Russia is not all that different and it does not offer a real alternative on a large scale. Russia has its own billionaires, it has its own immigrants from the global South, the Russians gave up smoking and once surly Russian salesgirls now smile to customers. The anti-Russian hype is rather baseless.
What do the Russians do? They try to offset and counteract the vicious anti-Russian campaign carried out in the US by Cardin’s gang, granted. This is reasonable and to be expected. But do they spread ideas for Western consumption that they themselves abhor? This is what I would call “weaponising propaganda,” and that is what the US did during the Cold War I, when their VOA and Radio Liberty encouraged internecine strife and ethnic nationalism in the Ukraine or Transcaucasia while promoting antiracism at home.
The Russians do not do it. They are sincere. They promote what they like. Russians do have quite conservative views. In their interaction with the West, the Russians express these views. They are against EU, and therefore they are for Brexit and for dissolution of the EU. For Russians, the EU is too liberal, and anyway the EU does not embrace Russia (the Russians wanted to join).
Regarding the US, the Russians do support conservative, traditional factors and those anti-globalist, parochial elements that contributed to the rise of Trump. Their support of Trump is not a manipulative one, but a sincere response.
The Russians have no political correctness. They say “Jew” as easily as you’d say “Pole” or “Cherokee”. They do not like mass migrations. They aren’t keen on Greeks and Georgians, Arabs and Armenians or indeed Tajiks, at least not in Russia, and not in big quantities, and they express this forbidden (for you) thought without hesitation. The Russians are ‘racists’, in the eyes of a New York liberal, but they easily marry and socialise across ethnic and racial borders. So when Russians express horror at the influx of dusky foreigners into Europe, they are not trying to cause trouble but speaking from their hearts. The Russians disprove of gender bending as much as your father did. They value masculine men and feminine women, and they are not ashamed of admitting that.
These are the transgressions of the Russians as discovered by Ben Cardin in his report. Why it bothers Ben Cardin and his lot to the extent of threatening far-away Russia with sanctions and war?
The Senator who had spend all his life since the age of 24 in politics, is an archetypical high-powered Jew, one of these Deep State figures who rule the US in fact, if not in name. Once, these powerful Jews had some powerful and similar-minded Gentiles to play ball with and to front for them. Not anymore. Real Americans of this kind do not exist anymore, or they can’t be relied upon.
That is why the Jewish Lobby wants to elect a black woman to the top position in the White House, whether Oprah or Michelle or even Condoleezza – it does not matter. Any one of them can be ruled by Ben Cardin and his ilk from behind the curtain, Wizard-of-Oz-style. And now the Democrats can’t find normal, regular men even for the lower rungs of power.
Ben Cardin wants to run for the Senate again; he will be opposed by Bradley (“Chelsea”) Manning, the man who leaked the State Department diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. I bless him for leaking the cables: people are entitled to know the dark secrets of the Deep State. I also sympathise with his suffering. After months of torture, he was forced to undergo castration in order to get out of jail. However, he is a patsy, not a strong-willed person suitable for a position of authority. He got himself in trouble because he could not keep his mouth shut. He had to brag about his feat, and quickly found himself locked up. While his predecessor, Deep Throat, kept his real identity secret until his last day.
The problem is, the opponents of Ben Cardin are as awful as he is. Glenn Greenwald writes in The Intercept: “Centrist Democrats Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Transgender Woman, All to Keep an Old, Straight, White Man in Power”. Every word in this sentence annoys. Manning is not a woman, for ‘woman’ is not a castrated man. (You can take the opinion of Germaine Greer, if my opinion is not good enough for you). Calling Cardin an “Old, Straight, White Man” is a clear-cut example of racism, sexism and ageism; it is ‘ad hominem’ of the worst kind, but these guys do not mind giving others a taste of the delicacy they hate.
I abhor Cardin not because he is an “Old, Straight, White Man”, for this definition would fit Lincoln and Tolstoy, but because he is a warmonger, a servant of the Lobby and an enemy of American workers.
I equally detest Greenwald, not because he is a Young Queer Coloured Jew, but because he privatised the treasure trove he got from Ed Snowden and turned it into a source of his personal enrichment, instead of sharing its contents with the people, as he was told to do by Snowden. I detest Greenwald for he turned the precious data to the spy agencies to rummage through and filter as they find fit.
But foremost of all I detest Greenwald for his support of identity politics; for his effort to make our kind of stand for freedom and against warmongers – alien and foreign to ordinary American men.
Greenwald and Cardin are two sides of the same coin. They are quite similar: not (only) by their Jewishness, but by their refusal to allow ordinary American men (who are Christian, “white” “straight” “males”, in their parlance) to decide their fate. For Greenwald and Cardin, the positions of authority should be reserved for transvestites, queers, women, persons of colour – or Jews who apparently have no gender, race or age.
We witness the same phenomenon in Israel, where the liberals use “they” as the pronoun of choice instead of sexist ‘he’ or ‘she’, acclaim a mixed-race non-binary-gender autistic person, insist on keeping illegal African immigrants, but can’t allow their Palestinian goyim elementary liberties of moving around, working or voting. It has the same explanation: the refugees, autistic persons or gender dissidents will not limit the power of those empowered now; the Palestinians would. Do not take your eyes off the ball, remember that all this delicate pussyfooting is about power.
Israel Shamir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published at The Unz Review.