Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our Syria

Commentary by Željko Cvijanović, Novi Standard (Belgrade), August 30, 2013.
Translated by GrayFalcon. Original here.

When the first missiles strike Syria and we are shown the first horrific images - carefully selected to scare us enough without riling us up too much - it would be nothing we haven't seen before, in the case of some of us, lived through ourselves. "There is nothing new under the sun," one could say. Except our eyes are less reliable than ever before. Because there are many new things here, and drawing on analogies can only help us see the heart of the matter - while missing everything else.

America is being led into a new war by a president who got elected claiming to be the antithesis of his belligerent predecessor; who promised Americans hope through changes that would bring the country back from the pitfalls of Bush the Younger's "wars on terror." Today, the man who received a Nobel Peace Prize not so long ago as an advance payment for expected greatness, is declaring that it is not a question whether Syria will be bombed, but when.

Meanwhile, heading the Department of Defense into the conflict is Chuck Hagel - one of the staunchest critics of Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a rare member of the Washington establishment who dared criticize Israel, and almost the lone advocate of dialogue with Iran - in other words, one of the most peaceful Pentagon principals since America began waging war beyond its borders.

Providing the diplomatic cover for missiles and bombers would be Vietnam veteran and anti-interventionist John Kerry, whose arrival at the head of the State Department this winter promised hope for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict, due to his cordial relationship with Bashar al-Assad.

Last, but not least, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in this war will be four-star General Martin Dempsey, who opposed a direct intervention by offering a worrying estimate that such an adventure would require "hundreds of scenarios, thousand of soldiers, and billions of dollars."

There have never been more doves at the top, never less support for a war in the American public, yet America has never been more belligerent. What gives?

The answer could cheer up only someone like [current Serbian Prime Minister] Ivica Dačić, who is in charge of Serbia just about as much as Obama and his cabinet run the United States. America is not being dragged into another war and another crime by its political leadership - though they are willing participants in the endeavor, and should not be absolved of responsibility. It is clearer than ever before that America is being dragged into war by its "deep state," the shadowy decision-makers working without the mandate of the American people.

This is nothing new, one might say, adding that such shadowy structures - named by some as the "military-industrial complex," although that is a somewhat reductionist perspective - have led America into wars in the past. And that is true. Just as it is true that we knew about American atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq before Julian Assange and Wikileaks revealed them to us. Just as we guessed the extent of surveillance and control before Edward Snowden, who merely confirmed it. In a similar manner, the American "one percent" who start wars while robbing their compatriots blind are being exposed by the Syrian War - and not just to us, but to the American "99 percent," now reviled around the world through little fault of their own.

This exposure is an important aspect of the deepening crisis in the West, which Syria brings into focus even before the first missile strikes the unfortunate country. It is made clear by today's revolt in the House of Commons, who rejected David Cameron's proposal for UK's participation in the war. Since the 1990s at least, the UK has led the U.S. into wars around the world more often than not, and has never deserted like this. Though I am not sure that London won't change its mind, and though Hollande has managed to out-Sarkozy Sarkozy, America still stands at Syria's gates more alone than ever.

In Libya, Obama found the magic formula to appear both peaceful and warlike, by letting other countries take point on the drive to war. He will, of course, attempt to find a "middle path" by planning limited strikes, intended to help tip the balance in favor of the Syrian rebels. But Obama cannot know how things will go after the first missile aimed at Damascus. He can know even less as to what might be going on by missile #5000. And once the first American jet is shot down, that's simply dark territory.

All of this makes for a completely new situation, indicating that internal resistance in the West to the aggression against Syria might have potential to be the strongest yet after the Vietnam War, with unpredictable political upheavals, consequences and outcomes.

Another new moment is that all the previous American wars - from Desert Storm to Libya - were waged by the American "deep state" with a clear feeling of superiority, translated on the ground as an emphatic missionary complex. There will be manifestations of this in the Syrian War as well, but tainted for the first time by the self-realization of America's weakness, or more precisely, dwindling strength.

As Obama is pressured to light the fuse over Syria, the Senate will vote on a law once again raising the ceiling for the enormous U.S. debt. This paradox is limiting American options, at the very least by imposing awareness on Washington that if it doesn't strike now, it may not be able to strike tomorrow, as the pendulum of American power is swinging back more every day.

Why is this new? Why is it important? Because those who enter a conflict convinced of their own superiority can be reasonable and see the limits of possibility. Conflicts entered with an awareness that tomorrow one will be weaker, however, make one desperate. Think of it as Cinderella: aware that her spell will wear off at midnight, and that she has to woo the prince by then, or lose him forever. The discrepancy between the two perceptions acts to induce a sense of panic, further reducing actual superiority and distorting plans beyond reason or possibility. The superpower becomes a jug that goes to the well till it breaks.

This paradox limits even the basic American options. There is no going back, only going forward to the bitter end - attacking Syria, Iran, China, Russia... Those unable to halt or retreat have closed off all avenues to victory; even at their mightiest, they will live in fear of defeat, becoming their own worst enemy. And this is why Syria is something new, a point of no return.

A power set on the path of no return by the fear of defeat, rather than rational analysis, sends a clear message to everyone else: submission is futile.

It was easy to persuade the bombed-out and beaten Serbs that they could live better by submitting. Even the Libyans, almost genetically poor before Gadhafi brought them reasonable standards of living, could be persuaded they would be better off without him. But who can persuade the Syrians today? Who can promise them anything more than red slaughter, if they lay down their arms before the "Free Syrian Army" thugs? Is there a voice of Allah that would persuade the Iranians they won't be next? Is there anyone in China not aware that the American deficit can be fixed only if they keep enough of their earnings for a cup of rice, and hand everything else over to JP Morgan? Is there a Russian - besides Navalny - unaware that the hole of American debt is so deep, it can only be filled with the resources of Siberia?

Though it will depend on the strategic understanding and tactical plans of each country finding itself on America's road of no return as to how they may get involved in the Syrian War, there is no doubt that they will get involved. And that is another new development.

If it lasts long enough, Syria could become a comic-book war, between the forces of Sublime Evil, arising for the first time since the defeat of Nazism, and the forces of Good joining together in self-defense. And if it lasts even longer, it may reduce the many identities of Western civilization down to just one: totalitarian plunderers. That, in turn, will ensure that the resistance to imperial America, though less visible than some would wish, will become more organized than ever. The lessons of Syria, and the threat of the long, cold global night, will make cats and dogs lie together in harmony. If you know what I mean.

What will Syria mean for Serbia? Much more than one can read in the Serbian media. Incomparably more than one can infer from the silence of Serbian politicians. Perhaps more of Serbia's destiny will be decided before Damascus than before Constantinople in 1453.

What can we do about it? Only pray for the forces of Good to triumph over Evil, knowing all the while that the line between them runs right through us.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Watching the World Burn

Since the beginning of the (un)civil war in Syria, back in the heady days of the faux "Arab Spring", I've been convinced that Imperial intervention was a matter of when, not if.

Media vs. Syria (seen on Facebook, source unknown)
Tunisian and Egyptian revolts - aided by Otpor training - successfully overthrew their respective governments, but the Libyan stooges failed abysmally, and had to be rescued by an intervention. This was done using the Kosovo Scenario on the accelerated Bosnia schedule: establish a flimsy pretext for NATO involvement through the UN, go in bombs blazing, establish "peace" through occupation. Sure, that hasn't worked out so well - just ask the families of the Benghazi dead - but in the immortal words of the (likely) future Empress, "what difference does it make?"

The Syrian war began as one of those Otpor-like "civil revolts," but when the government in Damascus refused to crumble, it escalated into armed rebellion. The Empire and its clients have been supplying weapons to the rebels. Rebel "fighters" have also received "training" from the KLA - which, knowing the KLA, consisted primarily of advanced courses on "how to stage a massacre and blame the enemy for it, in order to create a pretext for intervention." Meanwhile, several Imperial clients have been enlisted to bolster the atrocity porn narrative in the mainstream media.

Conditioned by the endless stream of celebrity gossip to have the attention span of a spastic squirrel, the general public may have forgotten the attempt to stage a chemical attack in June this year. Yet the intervention machine had not kicked into gear then, the way it is now. What has changed? Either the Empire is now more prepared for war than it was two months ago - which I doubt - or the powers that be decided that fallout of Ed Snowden's NSA leaks, and economic and social problems at home, demanded an urgent distraction: a short, victorious war.

So now the media is deploying the heavy verbiage, trying to sell the general public on the notion that the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons somehow has the right, or even the moral obligation, to murder people in another country, supposedly to protect them from (allegedly) being killed by chemical weapons. Which were in all likelihood used by the rebels in a false flag op (see KLA training, above).

Moon of Alabama thinks the Empire lacks the wherewithal to attack, and that it's unwilling to risk a confrontation with Russia and China. He might be right about the former, but I'm not so sure about the latter. Remember that Washington lives in a virtual reality bubble, believing only the "facts" it chooses to believe (or those it invents, same difference). Note also the evolving confrontation with Moscow over "gay rights", which isn't about homosexuals or civil rights at all, but about power.

I still don't know how the Empire intends to attack, but it is abundantly clear that it has decided to. The current Emperor seems to share the outlook of his predecessor, who once spoke of wanting to "set a fire in the minds of men." So they set the world on fire instead.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The East Remembers

In the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 1995, on the heels of an incessant artillery and air bombardment, some 200,000 Croatian troops moved in to “liberate” Krajina, a stretch of mountains inhabited by Serbs who had rejected Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia four years prior.
This is how I began "Remembering the Storm", published on the 10th anniversary of that atrocity. Croatia has since joined NATO and the EU. General Ante Gotovina was captured, extradited, convicted - and released. Yet that essay remains as true today as it was eight years ago.

"United Europe fights in the East"-
Nazi Croatian poster from 1942
Documentary evidence publicized during the trial of Gotovina et. al clearly confirms that Franjo Tuđman and his government wanted the Serbs gone. They wanted to finish the job begun in 1941, by their political progenitors, who aimed to "kill a third, expel a third, and convert a third." Of the two million Serbs in the "Independent State of Croatia," German sources estimated anywhere between 500,000 and 750,000 perished.

When Germany lost the war, the Ustasha - Croatian Nazis - had to flee. However, the cause of Croatian statehood was rescued by the Communists, who spun a myth of moral equivalence between the genocidal Ustasha and the Serb royalists. Croat nationalists could thus say they had "won WW2 twice". And in 1991, when Yugoslavia was weak and Germany strong once again, they came back for a rematch.

Just like in 1941, the Serbs fought back. Just like in 1941, Croatia had outside backers. Not ready to intervene in 1991, they arranged an armistice, deploying UN peacekeepers to disarm the Serbs. Meanwhile, American "advisors" trained Tuđman's troops in "human rights and democracy," while American diplomats exchanged notes calling Croatians their "junkyard dogs", cultivated for the purpose of fighting "Serb aggression".

The all-out attack on the Republic of Serb Krajina was launched on August 4, 1995. The following day, Croatian troops entered the Krajina capital of Knin. Tuđman declared it "Homeland thanksgiving day," cribbing from Americans the same way he cribbed from the Soviets in dubbing his extermination campaign the "Homeland war."

Krajina's defenders were surrounded and outnumbered. The Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina were dealing with a series of offensives by NATO-armed Muslim and Croat troops. Belgrade had refused to help, hoping to avoid a war with NATO (it didn't work; appeasement never does). Krajina's population chose exile over death. The 2001 census showed 380,000 fewer Serbs in Croatia than in 1991. Tuđman succeeded where the Ustasha had not. But then, he had better sponsors.

Croatia is American Empire's "junkyard dog" even today, though the Croats in Bosnia got the worst of that bargain. Empire's favor extends to other Nazi allies - be they militant Muslims in Bosnia, or Albanians occupying Kosovo and claiming more territories besides. A real 1940s reunion, today's Balkans.

To add insult to injury, the "war crimes" kangaroo court is now claiming the Ustasha plans for extermination of Serbs are really Serb plans for genocide of Muslims!

Tuđman died in 1999, and his party is no longer in power, but Croatia continues to celebrate August 5 as a national holiday. Montenegro's corrupt government separated from Serbia in 2006 and is trying to impose a rabidly anti-Serb (and pro-Croatian) national identity on its populace. Albanian-occupied Kosovo was declared an independent state in 2008, the same year an openly quisling regime was installed in Serbia.

Not everything has gone Empire's way, though. There are Serbs who still resist. The insane plan to woo jihadists "of all color and hue" isn't working out so well. And when another client tried to replicate the Krajina scenario, in August 2008, all the Imperial training and tech didn't last a day against a Russian frontier army.

The West may think it has won. But the East remembers.