Politics

Trump and Troika bomb Syria in the interests of 'democracy'

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The U.S. involvement in Syria has nothing to do with democracy or even chemical weapons — it is about protecting and extending U.S. military and economic power, says John Passant.

THE WESTERN TROIKA – the U.S., UK and France – have bombed Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons there. 

The Turnbull Government and Shorten Labor Opposition have both supported these attacks.

No journalistic analysis of the situation in Syria can capture its multilayered complexity.

Inspired by the Arab Spring, the civil war in Syria began with a democratic uprising against the dictator, Assad. He militarised the conflict, killing more than 400,000 of his own citizens, internally displacing 6 million and driving 5 million from the country, to retain power.

While the situation is complex, with ISIS, the Kurds, and Western and Russian imperialism and various local powers such as Iran, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia all in play, the fact remains that the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people drove the rebellion.  

The Western Troika and its hangers-on like the Australian Government and Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition have interests that are antithetical to the freedom fighters.

U.S. imperialism has no interest in democracy — or even in stopping the use of chemical weapons. Its interest is in protecting and extending U.S. power. It uses the most powerful military in the world to spread its economic and political power. According to CNN, the U.S. has bases in nearly 150 countries.

Yet America’s economic dominance is under challenge. China has become its global economic and political rival. It could surpass the U.S. as the number one economic power – at least in terms of gross production – in the foreseeable future.

The U.S. is in long-term economic decline. The election of President Donald Trump is one indicator of the political degeneration which itself reflects the ageing of American capitalism and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. The danger is that this is likely to make it more wedded to military means to enforce and reinforce its dominance.  

A key area for the U.S. is the Middle East.

As David Harvey says in 'The New Imperialism':

‘… whoever controls the Middle East controls the global oil spigot and whoever controls the global oil spigot can control the global economy, at least for the near future.’

That control is exercised among other things through Israel – America’s sometimes off the leash attack dog – and the military, economic, political and social relationships the U.S. has with dictators, like those in charge of Egypt and Saudi Arabia and other sometimes pro-American rulers. And then there are the U.S. bases in the region.

Defending its spigot and challenging Russia – a rival regional imperialist power interfering in the U.S.’ oil "backyard" – are two of the reasons for the U.S. attack on Syria. Chemical weapons were the excuse.

Compare that response to the treatment of Saudi Arabia. There is no condemnation of the Saudi regime for its role in destroying Yemen and killing 1,000 kids a week, there, through war and starvation. Instead, the U.S. and Britain are selling weapons to the Saudis.

The U.S. supports Israel — the settler colonial experiment could not survive without American money and arms. This explains the U.S. silence over the genocide of the Palestinians, highlighted in the last few weeks by the Israeli military killing peaceful Palestinian protestors on the Great March of Return.

What did the U.S. Government say about these assassinations? Nothing.

Russia has been testing NATO and the U.S. in various hotspots close and not so close to Russia’s border. Syria gave the Russians (and the Iranians) the opportunity to once again challenge U.S. hegemony in the Middle East. President Putin took it and appears to have won the war for Assad — or at least given him enough to protect his current territory and now reclaim more and more of it.

The bombing the Troika carried out appears to have been a slap with a feather. This may well have been deliberate on the part of the United States. On Twitter, Trump warned Assad and Putin about possible attacks. Russian and Syrian personnel left potential target areas before the bombing.

In this bombing, Trump has given the impression of power but more as an entrée rather than the main course. Will Trump become the Mr Creosote of war? It is possible. The erratic President might be provoked to do something stupid.

More importantly, the U.S. is a permanent war machine. China’s challenge to U.S. global hegemony is only going to deepen. The South China Sea expansion is but one example. The One Belt One Road Initiative is another, and so too is China’s "aid" to African countries.

The rumours about a Chinese military base in Vanuatu are an example of the logic of Chinese imperialist expansion. The xenophobia unleashed in Australia in response is an example of our White Australia history repeating.

We should not be supporting Beijing or Washington in any battle between the two major imperialist powers. Similarly, we should not support Moscow against Washington in Syria. Our benchmark there should be the Syrian people and their demands for democracy.

As the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists say:

The Anglo-American aggression against Syria is a new crime of American imperialism and its allies. Today, the Syrian people suffer from the onslaught of Bashar al-Assad's barbaric regime, the Russian and Iranian allies on the side, and now it's suffering with air strike from America and the bodies of Syrians and their burned cities have become an open stadium for regional and international competition. Washington and Moscow, Riyadh and Tehran. Everyone participates in aggression against the Syrian people.

That means opposing both Trump and his bombs and Assad and his backers. It means supporting the fighters for democracy and justice wherever they are. 

 As the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists conclude:

‘Neither Moscow nor Washington. Freedom for the Syrian people.’

Read more by John Passant on his website En Passant or follow him on Twitter @JohnPassantSigned copies of John's first book of poetry, Songs for the Band Unformed (Ginninderra Press 2016), are available for purchase from the IA store HERE.

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