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Who Will Blink in Syria? Russia? Or the US?

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | November 5, 2015

The first to die will be US troops. Russians will be made to appear as the killers, but the agents will probably be ISIS, Al-Qaeda (aka al-Nusra), Turks, or the Americans themselves. I’m not ruling out that the Russians might actually do the job, especially if the Americans order their 50 soldiers to the most likely Russian bombing targets and then dare the Russians to hit them. But most likely, the US will do the job itself and not take a chance that the Russians might miss.

Those dead American soldiers are needed as bargaining chips so as to up the ante. Next, Russians have to die, with or without a mutual secret agreement to that effect.

The strategy is based upon the assumption that if the stakes become high enough, the other side will back down. It is called brinkmanship, and its best known example was the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. One or both sides may believe that they are bluffing, but if their bluff is called are they really going to back down? Or are they going to up the ante so much that they end up in a real war, where they are required to respond to the other’s actions with ever-escalating effect?

I do not think the Russians will blink. They have had enough of American encroachment. They will not stand for further NATO poaching of their erstwhile Warsaw Pact allies, and certainly not in Ukraine, which is to Russia roughly as Canada is to the US. Similarly, the port of Tartus in Syria is Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base, and Syria is currently its only ally in the Arab world. Russia has much more at stake than the US, and is therefore much less likely to back down. In fact, Russia has clearly made a major commitment to the preservation of Syria, and waited a long time before doing so, which is another sign that they will not shrink soon from their decision to stay the course.

On the American side, the stakes are much less well defined. Syria is part of the post-USSR assertion of US global dominance, as advocated mainly by the neoconservative strategic movement, closely allied with Israeli and Zionist interests, which benefits from the Israel Lobby clout in the US. From its base in the Congress and the National Security Agency, this movement has made inroads into the intelligence services, the State Department and the Department of Defense, mainly at the top echelons. (Elected and appointed positions are the most vulnerable to lobbyist penetration.)

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the neocons argued that the US should use its military might to mold the world into US-controlled fiefdoms. Plans for such domination have been variously described in the “Clean Break” proposal, the “Project for a New American Century”, and the “New Middle East”. They begin with the destruction (aka “regime change”) of seven Middle Eastern countries, of which Iraq and Libya are considered successfully catastrophic outcomes, and a model for what is to be done to Syria.

Part of the purpose is to remove “bad examples” of nations that refuse to open their economies to U.S. exploitation and to accept US direction of their foreign policy, regardless of their own national interests. Iran and Syria are current examples of such countries, as were Libya and Iraq prior to their destruction. If these objectives happen to coincide with the Israeli policy of destroying the countries in its neighborhood, we may be forgiven for thinking that this is not mere coincidence.

Also on the American side, the stakes are ruled to a greater extent by domestic politics. Having championed the cause of regime change in Syria, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are loathe to appear weak or indecisive, and thus vulnerable to Republican criticism. In any case, they rely heavily on the Israel Lobby, which appears willing to sacrifice America’s fortune and youth on the altar of Israeli interests.

Despite these considerations, the American motives are not as strong as those of Russia. The problem is, neither is American leadership. There is a clear way out of this confrontation, with a face-saving agreement, if only the US will allow it to happen. It is for Russia and the US to cooperate in eliminating ISIS, al-Qaeda and their allies, cutting off US support for these terrorist organizations, forcing US allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others to do the same, and jointly convening a peace conference that brings indigenous Syrian groups together to negotiate an agreement that allows all sides to claim victory (even if it is something of a charade, as are most such agreements).

Brinkmanship is unnecessary. It is dangerous, and it is not a solution. Vladimir Putin is ready to achieve a negotiated outcome that protects Russia’s interests and ends US encroachment. Assad has never been an enemy of the US, and he is the current choice of the vast majority of the Syrian people, whether enthusiastically or reluctantly (as in most countries). The United States will be able to claim victory over its terrorist enemies as well as a compromise over the form of government in Syria, and a new positive working relationship with Russia. The Israelis will be upset that we have not done enough killing for them, but they will get over it, in the same way that they are reluctantly learning to live with the US-Iran settlement on nuclear development.

It shouldn’t be a question of who blinks first, but of having the option to continue blinking at all.

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

November 6, 2015 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Clear-sighted, as always, especially the part about “the Israeli policy of destroying the countries in its neighbourhood”. The matter could hardly be put more succinctly than that. Mr. Larudee might have added that that policy has nothing to do with “security”, despite the Zionists’ incessant assertions; it’s schadenfreude, their gloating satisfaction at seeing the lands of the goyim reduced to fields of rubble inhabited by desperate, starving people.

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    Comment by traducteur | November 6, 2015 | Reply

  2. An interesting essay, a departure point for additional discussion and insight and sanity (although that last is in short supply). I personally believe after 51 years of observation and angst that Zionism and its platform in the Middle East are the drivers of whatever demented direction the neocon Zionists scheme to drive the US. It’s always about ZioIsrael and what is in its best interests. The Palestinians are in the way, and so their “grass” is periodically “mowed” until a final solution can be sold to an unwitting, dumbed-down world population via its “elite” leaders.

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    Comment by roberthstiver | November 6, 2015 | Reply

  3. I too believe the Pentagon is going to prepare / compel a suicidal sacrifice of US citizen soldiers as a PR stunt (instead of its usual inexpensive sacrifice of disposable mercenary head-chopping takfiri proxies).

    The USA other than in regards to its demonization of Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Libya and Cuba has never before undertaken the obliteration of a more open, multicultural, pan-sectarian, secular, civilized, socialist, sovereign, constitutional and wannabe democratic country than it is now doing in modern Syria.

    Despite US & Israeli attempts to media characterize Syrians as drooling Stalinist baby eaters, it is very difficult for average americans to closely identify with the apparent US national purpose of replacing all the middle east secular sovereign democracies with medieval misogynist theocratic kingdoms and caliphates.

    From where does the new US franchising excitement about unconstitional, misogynist and totalitarian theocratic monarchy derive? How does the USA resolve 300 years of defending against monarchy, fascism and theocracy with its wish to impose these oligarchic obsessions on other nations apparently wrongly following the US example of constitutional democracy and secularism?

    The US middle east policy since the confabulated false flag obliteration of Iraq, involving the terrorist proxy murder on behalf of greater Israel of 2 million Iraqi civilians, massive population dislocation and refugee displacement and the utter destruction of trillions in civil infrastructure has now finally and entirely lost the respect, confidence and support of the American people.

    But you won’t read treason like that in the newspapers or hear it on TV.

    The Pentagon angling to regain US citizen respect needs a wag the dog embedded reality TV show involving iwo-jima imagery of american soldier sacrifice and star spangled victory in order to restore faith in war as the iconic american shibboleth and cross-class provider. The joint chiefs are begging for americans to remember, have faith in and re-embrace the benefits of war.

    Regardless of the Pentagon’s apparent contempt for citizens and american soldiers we will be brought a hi-definition Hunger Games sacrificial spectacle in Syria which will endlessly rerun death scene memes from Black Hawk Down.

    That ought to fix the Pentagon’s tanking approval rating eh?

    Michael\\

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    Comment by Michael\\ | November 6, 2015 | Reply

  4. u,s, has no eye lids only fangs.

    Like

    Comment by 5 dancing shlomos | November 6, 2015 | Reply


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