PUTIN AND SYRIA: THE DAILY BELL’S TAKESeptember 30, 2013
As many of you know, I like the UK's Daily Bell, the libertarian-Austrian economics-oriented internet site that, until a few weeks ago, was a regular feature here. Then The Daily Bell suddenly "quit", and, as many of you know, is now back. While I have questions and disagreements with aspects of Austrian economics, their perspective is always valuable and worth considering. And none more so than now, in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin's intervention into the growing diplomatic quagmire that Syria is turning out to be for the USA and its allies. Fundamentally, I've never understood either the logic or rationale of backing "rebels" who espouse the very ideology that the USA claims to be against in its "war on terror." The thought has been constantly in the back of my mind (and I'll wager, has been in the back of the minds of many readers here) why such a nonsensical policy was being pursued, not to the stability of the region, but to its apparent instability. And the only thing I have been able, in the final analysis, to conclude tentatively is that the powers that be want to see the region massively destabilized, and that they want to see some sort of radical Islamic regimes in the region. After all, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they needed an enemy. It's good for business.
But then came Zbigniew Brzezinski's cautions against unilateral military solutions, and that whole interpretation had too be reassessed. Now the Daily Bell's Ron Holland has weighed in with a perspective, and, in the light of the developments concerning the gold repatriation drives, the developments of what I have been calling the "BRICSA entente cordiale" or the growing bloc challenging American-led unipolarism of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, it is an interpretation readers here will find worth considering:
Let's focus on two sets of paragraphs here that, I think, go to the heart of the matter, and what may have happened, and they are, I think, the best explanations to date of the sudden policy reversal the Obama administration showed. Here's the first set:
"My question is: What motivated the sudden, overnight change of mind by Obama himself seemingly only hours away from a military strike on al Assad and Syria? It appears to have caught his advisors and the military totally by surprise.
"Yes, thanks to the Internet Reformation, the administration was not able to manipulate public opinion and the people and Congress were increasingly opposed to the minimal military action, though this has never stopped a Washington attack before. Even the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) efforts came to naught and the US backed down from the attack.
"I believe both Russia and China covertly played the Treasury debt card in order to protect their client states, Syria and Iran, from the impending US invasion. An attack would undoubtedly have escalated with troops on the ground, opening the way for a land assault against Iran, the ultimate real target. After all, the gas pipeline for Washington's Sunni client states that even offering to pay for the military action is far less important than taking Iran down."
Plausible? Yes, reasonable? Yes. Would the Russians and Chinese have threatened such an extreme move? Yes. But there's more to that than meets the eye, and I'll get too that in a moment.
Then there is this:
"I would suggest that Putin's apparent last minute Chemical Weapons "deal" was just a face-saving gift for the Obama Administration in order to provide cover and a reasonable excuse for the sudden change of orders to halt the Syria attack. I'll also bet that this deal had been worked out long before it was offered to Obama...
"Putin wins again. He gets the credit for stopping the US; Russia, as usual, never fires a shot and Washington retreats. You'll know whether I'm right on Putin playing the debt card if on occasion, with very important questions on global affairs and diplomacy, America begins to slowly retreat – as do all empires when they overreach economically and begin to decline militarily."
Mr. Holland is correct, I believe, in that (1) Washington is badly overstretched, both militarily and economically, and (2) that one now has to watch the manuevering, not only in the Middle East, but Africa, the Pacific, and South America very carefully, for Mr. Holland is implying, correctly I believe, that this diplomatic strategem by Mr. Putin probably heralds a new and more vigorous long-term strategy that Russia and China will pursue, in a steady "push-back" on American influence around the world.
There is, however, a hidden context here that does not get mentioned in this article, and I believe it must be mentioned. That is: why did the Obama-Kerry mannequins collapse their position so quickly. There is no need to comment on the ineptitude of American diplomacy or policy here. That would seem to be self-evident. Nor is there need to comment, as some American talk show hosts did in an almost hysterical and quite jingoistic fashion, on Mr. Putin's letter to the New York Times. It was not, in my opinion, a letter really addressed to the American people, but to the corrupt and criminal oligarchy running the country for their own profit, and with little regard to the rest of the population or, for that matter, the world. It was a letter warning them of dire consequences if they really wanted to pursue the course they were on.
So why did they back down? After all, the mannequins in the White House and State Department are only following orders. I suspect that Mr. Holland is right: Russia and China not only played the debt card, but also that the back down had to occur because the current moves by the Anglosphere oligarchs are not yet completed. Don't know what those moves are? You probably don't, because they get little time on the lamestream American media, but it's a story well-known in Indonesia, Malaysia, and other "developing nations," namely, the West is pulling their capital out of those countries quickly, and all this while pushing the 3-d printing "meme." I have advanced the hypothesis - which, to be fair, one analyst called "nonsense" - that the Anglosphere oligarchs are trying to retrench after a rampant and unrealistic overextension in the wake of the Soviet collapse.
Mr. Holland invokes the image of Mr. Putin's maneuver being akin to the operational strategies and tactics of General Stonewall Jackson, or Field Marshall Erwin Rommel (personally, I would have compared Mr. Putin's manuever to be more like Field Marshal von Manstein's "backhand blow" of 1943). To invoke the military analogy of Mr. Holland, the Syria venture was America's Unternehmung Blau (Operation Blue), the vast offensive of German Army Group South in 1942, that led to a huge over-extension of Axis lines deep into the Caucuses and all the way to the Volga River...
...and a place called Stalingrad.
When von Manstein assumed command, he did the only feasible thing: he retreated to a position where the lines were no longer over-extended. The backdrop here, seems to me, is not only the diplomacy of maneuver - "this far and no farther" - that Mr. Putin demonstrated, to the great embarassment of American and great enhancement of Russian prestige on the world stage, but also the deeper story of that retrenchment into less over-extended lines.
To put it as succinctly as possible, folks, that means that both sides are manuevering for a new, long game of geopolitics. You're watching the beginning of a new Cold War, one fought with economic and diplomatic weapons. Brazil has signaled, in no uncertain terms, that it is fed up with the USA. Many other nations are as well. The oligarchs would do well to look at the policies that have so tarnished their image and reputations, and consider their next long term goals very carefully.
See you on the flip side.