Syria and Trump, Escalation and the Politics of Confusion

Following a horrendous gas attack on civilians in Syria, the US carried out an attack on  al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in Syria. Donald Trump said the thought of Syrian children suffering affected him. It fucking didn’t. If he cared about Syrian civilians and children, traumatised and suffering after five bloody long years of civil war, why is he pushing to implement a ban on them entering the US? Why did he display nothing for contempt for refugees fleeing a horrific war, proudly stating “I can look in their face and tell them they can’t come here“? It’s theater, and there will be a reason behind it. Either the action was taken to reinforce his image as a strong-handed leader and stop approval ratings nosediving, or there’s some other motive. Rex Tillerson might be eyeing up some tasty fossil fuel reserves in the region (I mean you couldn’t really put it past a man who worked as CEO of Exxon Mobil, and who has repeatedly stated his commitment to expanding fossil fuel extraction – even denying its environmental effects  whilst working to conceal evidence of climate change – from the Russian Arctic to brutal central African dictatorships).

You may change the faces at the forefront of the state, but very little changes between either party. He previously attacked Obama for talking about intervention, saying he would do so to improve his ratings, that he should stay out of Syria. I firmly believe Adam Curtis was right when he said politics now are politics of confusion: undefinable, constantly changing, absorbing all opposition. The enemy seems to change daily, and those in power seem to continue to paint everything as a black-or-white, good-against-evil fight, which reduces the mess of the Syrian civil war into a simplistic understanding. As likely as it may look that the regime carried out the attack, it is still necessary to carry out a full investigation before resorting to strikes and risking escalation. Information is contorted and distorted during conflicts for political agendas, and you can hardly trust extremist militias (now making up much of the formerly secular opposition  groups) or brutal dictatorships to provide reliable evidence. The war is so complex and confusing that there’s even been reports of Pentagon-backed and CIA-backed militias fighting each other. Anyone who tries to paint it as a good-against-evil fight is an idiot or a liar.

The chances of the US normalising its relations with Russia are looking pretty slim. The US foreign policy has long been one of the most manipulative and aggressive on the planet (here’s a list of all of the USA’s regime change operations) and this escalation will have reasons and motives behind it. Trump crying crocodile tears is bullshit.

The UK’s cowardly systematic approval of US foreign policy continues (I guess you would when even your nuclear weapons system is dependent on the US), with the government strongly backing the strikes, apparently “because war crimes have consequences”. What about Saudi Arabian atrocities in Yemen? I guess their consequences are selling them more weapons than any other country (around £900m of weapons in 2015) despite evidence that the weapons are being used in war crimes, and getting a lot of oil in return. The UK government does not care about human rights, if they did they wouldn’t sell weapons to two thirds of the countries on their own human rights watch list. It’s posturing, and the UK will blindly follow the rules of its “special relationship” with the United States, no matter how disastrous the consequences.

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Source: The Economist

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Source: ThinkProgress

As disgustingly brutal Assad’s regime is, If the current policy is to attack both IS and the regime, isn’t each attack reinforcing the other parties? What will come of it? Haven’t we learnt that this kind of disastrous intervention is what led in part to the current regional chaos, that many of the violent fanatical groups are a result of the mess of the Iraq War, and other failed interventions in the region? Whatever the real reasoning is of the White House, all I hear is the beating of war drums. Escalation and deterioration seem sadly inevitable.

 

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The UAE and Mars

The UAE are going to Mars in the future apparently, in a venture called Emirates Mars Mission. Maybe over there in a hundred years they’ll have a theocratic Martian-sheikh-dictator, imprisoning rape victims under adultery laws, giving the death penalty to people on the basis of their sexuality and deporting or handing out four-year prison sentences foreigners with drug addictions, or even having traces of drugs on your clothing.

They’ll probably use an army of slave labour working 21-hour days, like they did to build a plastic shithole metropolis, littered with congested twelve-lane highways, the bodies of migrant workers and verdant golf courses in the middle of the desert. The second they embark on their extraterrestrial journey they’ll confiscate their Earth passport, inform them that if they want to escape their hellish contract they’ll need to get their own spacecraft, that it was their choice to go there anyway, and that they should just give in and grin as a space-bound totalitarian state stamps on their face with UK-made combat boots

The UAE is one of the least sustainable and most polluted nations on Earth (by many measures: water stress, carbon footprintrising salinity of seawater, fishery depletion, ecological footprint in global hectares, and air pollution) but is somehow going to get its shit together, entice a couple of investors and magically create a self-sustaining, isolated colony on Mars? I wonder how they’ll ship customized luxury cars and polished marble flooring all those millions of kilometres. Maybe Abu Dhabi will just chuck $20bn at the project – like they did with Dubai during the financial crisisor maybe they’ll keep letting mafia and terror dollars roll in to fund it. Either way, it’s probably a load of horse shit, looking at the long list of failed projects—most of which were ecological disasters and (personal opinion) aesthetic monstrosities. The images they’ve used for the Mars project are as fantastical and ludicrous as the images of the massive geoengineering projects—featuring hundreds of clumps of rock and sand sitting idly, imported live dolphins from the Solomon Islands and half-shut monorails that don’t connect with the rest of the transport system—and underwater hotels (so people can see all the sea life that’s been destroyed from building all  those ridiculous islands from a luxurious hotel room) they planned, a lot of which, unsurprisingly, never materialized.

It’s all big cosmic visions for an country that denies even a sprinkling of human rights and that seems to plan its development like a spoilt child, ignoring all ecological and logical limits. Maybe it’s an escape tactic: once the Earth has been squeezed of its natural resources it will be left to rot, and the UAE’s strange ideological mix of Western neoliberalism and religious fundamentalism will  hop on a rocket and flee to other planets.