Note well that Trump lied about the Syrian strike. What else is he lying about? He had better not break out the bubbly, yet…
In decades to come, historians will identify this past week as one of the most seminal in postwar history, placing particular emphasis when they do on the actions of one of the most unstable, unpredictable, and capricious presidents ever to occupy the White House. Prior to his election, those who allowed themselves to believe that Trump’s lack of political experience and ideologically driven worldview were strengths that’d go a long way to giving birth to the multipolar world that’s long overdue, those people have reason to be nursing a sense of crushing disappointment over the political disaster that is currently unfolding, one that may well translate into a military disaster if allowed to continue on its current trajectory.
Indeed, it’s hard at this stage to avoid the feeling that Trump and his administration are actually itching for a military confrontation with Russia. Like a child discovering matches for the first time, the 45th president appears a leader who after ordering a missile strike for the first time can’t wait to order more. It’s a feeling reinforced by the meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, which sadly wasn’t the success a planet desperate for peace and stability was hoping for. Despite the cordial tone and atmosphere surrounding the talks, they ended with no resolution and no serious moves towards de-escalation.
The Trump administration continues to assert that its intelligence leaves no room for doubt when it comes to the allegation that President Assad authorised a sarin gas attack on civilians in Syria’s opposition-held Idlib Governate. Assad denies the allegation, and Russia supports this denial while calling for an independent UN-led investigation in order to ascertain the facts. So far, Washington refused to countenance such an investigation, while at the same time failing to produce the intelligence or evidence it claims to possess in support of its allegations. Even without factoring in the cooked-up and falsified intelligence used to unleash hell on Iraq in 2003, a conflict the after-effects of which lie at the root of the current crisis… and even without factoring in the destruction of Libya in 2011, driven by the same régime change fanaticism… the stance of the Trump administration is both unconscionable and contemptuous in its arrogance. It begs the question of what the US Government is afraid of when it comes to an independent investigation? Why the refusal to reveal its evidence and the intelligence that points to Syrian government responsibility for this alleged attack?
The most optimistic analysis we can make at this point is that Trump believes he can wheel and deal in the political arena as he has throughout his years in the business arena. However, the consequences of having his bluff called in the game he’s playing now, as opposed to the game he cut his teeth in, are of an entirely different dimension. The game his administration is playing now carries with it the strong possibility of unleashing catastrophic consequences. Thus far, they’ve dismissed the growing number of voices within the USA that question the conclusions being peddled by the White House over this alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack as the product of conspiracy theory and pro-Assad propaganda. On the other hand, one can’t so easily ignore the latest intervention by MIT professor Theodore Postol. Professor Postol, whose exhaustive rebuttal of the case against the Syrian government over the alleged sarin attack of 2013 should be required reading for anyone interested in drawing fact-based conclusions rather than those rooted in ideology, raised his voice again, this time challenging the intelligence behind these allegations and the intelligence used to support them.
Despite the lack of UN authorisation or congressional approval for the strike launched by Trump against Syria, the mainstream media in the USA, almost to a newspaper and network, lined up behind their President with their by now customary Pavlovian cheerleading for war and régime change. Their ranks have swelled by what one can best describe as a left-wing of US imperialism in the form of a hodgepodge of soi-disant socialists and progressives, whose metamorphosis into the most passionate of régime change fanatics and cranks has been stunning to behold.
Moscow, nobody should need to be reminded, won’t accept its implied status of Carthage to Washington’s Rome, with the cards Trump has dealt Russia this past week those of a leader who has made the mistake of allowing himself become dizzy with the questionable success of one limited military action. Yet, regardless, overnight, this missile strike transported Trump from bête noire of the neocon establishment to its Man of the Hour. This is despite the fact that the incoherence and mixed messages that ensued during the course of this crisis from Rex Tillerson, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s woefully under-qualified press secretary, Sean Spicer, reveals a level of dysfunction commonly associated with satire rather than the serious business of government.
The result is that Washington is currently a lumbering giant staggering blindly towards the edge of a cliff with no sign of stopping. This is why it’s such a pity that we have in the White House a President who takes pride in never reading books. For if he did, and if he took the time to dip into the works of Napoleon Bonaparte, he might learn something. For instance:
We mustn’t allow international incidents to shape foreign policy; foreign policy must shape the incidents.
Napoleon, it should be borne in mind, was a leader who also made the fatal mistake of allowing hubris to cloud his judgement.
14 April 2017