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.


Source: The Economist


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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Ctrl Alt Delete Report on the Alt-Right

This is a couple of months old now but well worth a read. This report by Political Research shows the components and movements that make up the USA’s Alt-Right, and underlines its trends and many contradictions. It is far more varied in means, goals and directions than is portrayed in the media, as well as being sectarian and contradictory in itself. 

It does not seem like a unified, homogenous movement, but more of a web of varied strains of capitalist, fascist, white supremacist, Tea Party “libertarians” and right-wing to far-right ideologies, ideologues and groups. Their one unifying factor is Donald Trump’s election, and the fact that they all will benefit from the election of a Twitter-crazy reactionary manchild demagogue to the most important political position in the world. 

Welcome to late capitalism. I dunno about you guys, but I can’t wait for the impending resource wars over increasingly slim reserves of extreme energy, and water and food supplies being ravaged and rationed due to the global failure to initiate a paradigm beyond endless growth. I for one welcome our new oily methane-harvesting capitalist overlords.