As oft said here, America is suiciding itself, and in more ways than this article states.
Note: As in other rare cases when an article deserves special recognition, a majority of this article will stay posted here. Still be sure to click the source link for the full article.
A new round of the “Great Game”* in Syria demonstrates not so much Moscow’s growing power, as the intellectual vacuum in the West.
Western leaders, the media and experts state the obvious: the Kremlin is trying to save Assad. Of course, yes, but principal points remain outside of the focus of their attention.
It is not only about Syria. It’s about two polar ideologies, two worldviews that are incompatible with each other.
At one extreme, we see the time-honored tradition based on the primacy of national interests and perceptions of themselves as Empire. At the other extreme, there is a schizophrenic set of amateurism, idealism, Neo-Marxism ideology, quasi-religious utopias of universal triumph of democracy “for all, here and now”, violently distorted conceptions of human rights and civil liberties.
The first outlook generates calculating and cynical, but predictable policies. The second one paves the road to hell.
Which geopolitical aims are pursued by Moscow in Syria?
First, Russia has only two allies in the Middle East — Iran and Syria. The Kremlin came to the conclusion that without the direct intervention of the Russians, Assad’s regime would be doomed, because “Hizbullah” and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps would not withstand a long onslaught by the Islamists. The fall of Assad’s regime would jeopardize the Iranian regime too. Lebanon together with “Hizbullah” would not survive, and then the Shiite government in Iraq would be threatened by “jihadists”.
Moscow in such case would lose its influence in the Middle East completely – such situation was unacceptable for the Kremlin.
Obama may cherish illusions that Iran’s Ayatollahs will become U.S. allies as long as he wants, but in Tehran they even don’t try to conceal their contempt for him. The mullahs have friends already, and they sit not in Washington, but in Moscow. Both sides coordinate every step. Commander of the Quds Force general Qasem Soleimani visited Moscow twice — in August and in middle of September — where he met with Putin and the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu.
The second key point is related to the Islamist threat. Putin’s calls to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant are not just empty rhetoric. The defeat of Assad would be the triumph of “jihadists”, and the flame of “Green revolution” under the banner of the Prophet would inevitably spread to Muslim regions of Russia — the Caucasus, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. It could inflame the “soft underbelly” of Russia too – secular Muslim republics of Central Asia.
Dushanbe — the capital of Tajikistan — was chosen for a reason: it is an outpost of Russia on the border with Afghanistan. Besides “Taliban”, it is intruded now by ISIL agents as well, and Moscow is aware of this danger. Putin assured the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, that Russia will support him in any case, but it is impossible to stop ISIL remaining entirely on the defensive, and Putin prefers an offensive campaign.
Unlike the Europeans, Russia doesn’t accept returning “jihadists”, who went to fight for the Caliphate — Russians prefer to destroy them in Syria. One of the main targets of Russians in Syria will be Chechen militants, penetrating into Syria via Turkey.
Russia intends to hunt them, and modern attack helicopters Mi-28NE called “Night Hunter” have already arrived in Latakia.
The third point – starting from the 18th century the Russian Empire, and after it the Soviet Union, sought to increase its presence in the “South Seas” — the Mediterranean. It would turn Russia into a leading player of the world politics, would let it go beyond the Eurasian steppes and dictate own terms to the West.
Over a number of years Putin has been counting on the development of the Russian Navy, which has become a strong force. Russia’s principle goal is preserving Syrian Latakia — its main base in the Mediterranean, and creating new bases.
Obama’s mediocre policy facilitates the rapprochement between Kremlin and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and today the two countries are negotiating the construction of a naval base in Egypt. The Eastern Mediterranean becomes Russian – the aim that could not be achieved in the face of such rivals as Palmerston, Disraeli, Churchill, Truman and Reagan, has become ridiculously easy with Obama.
The fourth point — Russia wants to show to the whole world: it is a power that under no circumstances abandons its friends and allies to their fate. Putin didn’t betray Assad in the hour of need, and thus made it clear (for the West especially) that “all roads lead to Rome”, i.e., to Moscow.
It was a useful lesson – now all countries in the region apply for a mediation not to Washington, Paris or London, but to the Kremlin. They manipulate Obama cynically getting American weapons and technology from him, but it is Russia that they consider the power capable of influencing the events.
Russia is not an ally of Israel, but for Netanyahu it is much easier to come to an understanding with Putin than with Obama, and the involvement of the Kremlin can prevent the worst-case scenario, such as the supply of S-300 and upgraded weapons “to Hizbullah.” It is curious to note, in numerous interviews to Russian media during a previous visit to Moscow Netanyahu emphasized excellent mutual understanding with Putin.
What does the West set against Russia? It betrays its allies by encouraging the worst enemies. This is done senselessly and with mediocrity and certainly harmful to its own strategical interests. The West betrayed Gadhafi, who successfully collaborated with Europeans and held back Islamic fundamentalism and hordes of migrants from Africa.
It betrayed Hosni Mubarak, and then tried to push el-Sisi into a corner, hindering his war with terror – in the name of “Muslim brothers” that hate the West.
It betrayed the former Yemeni President Abdullah Salah, who helped U.S. in the fight against “Al Qaida”. It betrayed Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies in the name of the disastrous deal with Iran, which dreams to destroy the U.S. and doesn’t conceal it. It betrays – in a cowardly and hypocritical manner — Israel, it’s last stronghold in the Middle East, in the name of the mythical “Palestinian people” that never existed. This was the invention of KGB and the Arab League that turned out to be the “sacred cow” of postmodern culture.
It betrays friendly Kurds — in the name of “good relations” with the psychopath Erdogan, whose hatred for the West is not less than that one of Ali Khamenei. It betrayed — in the name of political correctness — Christians of the Middle East inseparably connected to Christian civilization.
While Russia is building its Empire, the West seems dedicated to self-destruction. This is a “suicidal syndrome” in the name of “progressive thinking” that killed both progress, and thinking.
The result of this contest is predictable. History does not like idiots, and especially “useful idiots.”
Full article: What Russia is up to in Syria and the ‘progressive’ U.S. suicide (World Tribune)