The prompts may be inferred — has Syria signaled the weakening and weakness of the west? And are we so beholden to “Big Money” — the personalities of the powerful and wealthy of the world — that we have abandoned our western political character? — for the following and linked pieces of the BackChannels Soapbox Opera.
Syria has been the demonstration project for a medieval absolutism that intentionally fails to differentiate between the value of property and that of persons. The indiscriminate killing by the Assad regime as flanked by Putin and Khamenei has reinforced that most feudal view of sovereignty — and it should be seen that way. The same “troika” has also extended the tenure of Russian totalitarianism in which centralized power has shown it may arrange all perception for everyone else. There should be no question that Assad incubated ISIS — i.e., allowed the al-Qaeda types to stream into the battlespace and form, and then encouraged their organization by choosing to battle the west first while also bombing neutral noncombatant targets. “Assad v The Terrorists” has been grand and bloody political theater from the start.
If all were so — even though much seems so — we would have disengaged from Syria and nascent “Kurdistan” completely, but I think the spirit of the west still evolving and strong. In Syria, the post-Soviet axis has been effectively destroying itself, especially as may be measured by Syria’s diminished population and controlled land space.
Russia and the “phantoms of the Soviet” in it may be fabulously wealthy, but the state has been deeply damaged financially — and not by sanctions completely but the accumulated effects of capital flight and mafia behavior for decades.
Where Iran has had its hand in driving conflict, it has poisoned land and politics both.
The west has been cautious beneath the now immovable cloud of potential nuclear exchange with its enemies, and it has perhaps (!) suffered from early post-Cold War cooperation that with “Putin’s Pivot” on Syria (2011) has become problematic.
As regards Powerful Big Money, the western investment in its own existence in ideals, principles, and values IS being tested. If the west fails to defend its hard won experience, then welcome to the New Feudalism and wars cooked up endlessly for illicit and licit trade in totalitarian fashion (black market arms –> miscreants; state arms sales –> states). Alternatively, if the west wants to exist as a liberal statement, it will have to stand to defend its integrity.