The official presentations of peace have become surreal.
Most understand that with the repression of democracy, especially through the jailing of journalists and the shuttering of publications, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has all but denounced democracy for a turn “east” toward dictatorship.
America’s President Trump has agreed to the program but with one difference, i.e., claiming credit for peace in the region. He has nonetheless praised the Turkish leader, essentially hollowing out the meaning of “NATO” and the related Western ideals, principles, and values that were to be defended before the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, i.e., the forces of feudalism and associated criminals, political criminals, and tyrants.
Turkish news channels ran a countdown clock at the top of their screens to let the country know when the ceasefire in northern Syria would end. Military and political commentators tried to outdo each other’s prognostications about what would come out of the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the city of Sochi. In the end, the presidents spent six hours discussing their path forward in northern Syria.
BackChannels expects the powerful mainstream media (Fake News!) to take note of the discrepancies illustrated here by juxtaposition.
It appears some wealthy — way “up there” in wealth born of thuggery — have in some states displaced democratic processes, evolving liberalism, rule of law and become powers unto themselves acting in their own feudal and wholly narcissistic and malign interests.
The Donald goes off script and holds forth like Castro, delivering two hours of rambling, crowd loving, rambunctious showmanship; and the Bern, ever more to the point, tells his lovers of his intent to turn the American enterprise system — our realpolitik mix of public functions and private incentives x specific U.S. geopolitical area — upside-down.
What compassionate, moderate, and reasoning American constituency wants to have to choose between the demagogue on the Far (Out) Left and the reactionary on the Far (Mostly White) Right?
While it may be too soon to fix the 2020 contest as “Sanders v Trump”, it’s not too soon to question the off-the-wall egotism and narcissistic motivation of leaders to whom applause from their respective mobs — the “narcissistic supply”; the love that heals all wrongs; the love that affirms their manhood or sense of personal and political efficacy and messianic self-concept and value; the love that is for each politician like no other drug on earth — may be more important than the practical adjusting of policies to create or obtain nationwide improvements in bottom-to-top American qualities of living.
After writing off the several preceding elected Administrations as “an old ruling class”, making the claims that “America is winning again; America is respected again”; moseying around the “Great Tariff Debate of 1938”; making fun of the Democrat’s “New Green Deal”; mocking the press, “Please Russia get the e-mail” he whines sarcastically while the crowd chants “Lock her up! Lock her up!”; viciously firing at “Shifty Schiff” and “The Collusion Delusion”, reliably turning his targets into cartoon caricatures and episodes; and slinging a few more arrows along the lines of, “You leave people in certain positions, and suddenly they’re all trying to take you out with bullshit” (big applause for that nasty note), Trump gets around to what it’s really all about:
We’re in the swamp of Washington, D.C., but you know what? We’re winning and they’re not . . . .
You know what I like about this?
Number one, I’m in love, and you’re in love, we’re all in love together.
There’s so much love in this room, it’s easy to talk. You can talk your heart out. You really can. There’s love in this room.
27:20 -> 19:48 “President Trump takes the state at CPAC”. Breitbart YouTube video displayed below.
. . . thank you all for being part of a political revolution that is going to transform America
(Chanting: “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!) –
No, no, no — it is not Bernie, it you. It’s us together.
We are going to transform this country and finally create an economy and a government which works for all of us, not just the one percent.
3:30 –> 4:47 – “Bernie Sanders’ FULL Brooklyn speech”, Rebel HQ YouTube video as displayed.
Bernie’s crowd loves the way he panders to them, and it’s not too bad, for who would not be for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice?
Bernie and his followers have perhaps been seeing America’s regulated capitalist system become unbridled: “We will no longer tolerate the greed of corporate America and the billionaire class . . . greed which has resulted in this country having more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth” (6:35 -> 6:55).
However, who is going to pay for that guaranteed health care?
What anti-social steps may Big Pharma take to reduce the cost of prescription drugs (hint: offer less tested — and cheap — generics?); how will that heightened minimum wage avoid becoming simply inflationary? The eternal “crumbling infrastructure” issue (that’s been on BC’s plate since Lester Brown’s heyday) — Trump offered it too: any progress?
Tuition free public college and university educations: whose pockets, how, and how soon?
Of the two Big Dreamers, BC believes one far more social and concerned with the general American experience, but wonders as well whether applause has been more the motivation for heightened American messianism on the campaign trail than perception of the much needed nuts-and-bolts adjustments that would treat the nation’s land base and people with the care and respect required for better-than-functional politically coherent national survival.
Setting aside the Israeli story a moment, points of leverage may have involved the “Turkish Stream” energy project, a piece of “realpolitik”, and an appeal to the narcissistic concept of cultural leadership and state in which the “Great Leader” is the embodiment of the living state concept _and entitled_ to aggrandizement and glory without limit (or, clinically, “unlimited narcissistic supply). Putin’s vision appears to me to be that of the medieval world sustained with raw power put in place of democracy.
The look of the mode — big palaces, nepotism on a royal scale, confusion in relation to the boundaries of person and state (and the state’s treasury) — marks the medieval mind and related revanche.
Men like Putin, Assad, Khamenei, Erdogan, Orban may consider true popular democratic government as impeding their own authority, sovereignty, and will. While the term “autocrat” sounds quite bureaucratic, similar concepts — caliph, emperor, king, sultan — fit these guys.
Because we know of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” and that Russia has been arming the Taliban in Afghanistan — and there’s more back there with Zawahiri and others — it may not be too far fetched to suggest that Moscow has manipulated terrorism to induce in struck targets a predictable patriotic new nationalism and that “the terrorists” — ISIS or PKK — now provide a platform for conflict, all against all, and without end. Where Putin has held sway, he has turned back history’s clock.
Our President Trump has had no issues bearing and wearing the mantle of authority, but it would be facile to say he hasn’t had some issues with the “Estates” of a matured democracy. In that regard, he may fit the world to which Putin has wished to return the world.
The truth of the matter is Moscow-Tehran with baby Damascus chose to sustain a barbaric “medieval political absolutism” in Syria intent on fighting western ideas, actually, while incubating and using as tools the al-Qaeda types, including ISIL.
Moscow’s conversational tone may be firm, but the site of what the “troika” — Putin, Assad, Khamenei — has done to Syria — and the most innocent of the Syrian constituency — awareness of Moscow’s continuing relations with Hamas and PFLP, and its planting of those “Little Green Men” in Crimea speak brazenly for a Moscow more interested in thuggery and empire than in freedom, peace, and prosperity, and that whether at home or abroad.
Putin & Co., appear to be making an effort to stand on familiar old evils, which includes the encouragement of greater Far Left and Far Right extremism in the world and consequent chaos and violence. I suspect western diplomats apprehend what has been “reset” before them and are taking measures to respond appropriately.
Inspiration for the note: an assertion that Puton, Lavrov, and Churkin have been always firm in their speech, never belligerent.
However, set the tone of the talk against the results of Moscow’s policies over many years and the juxtaposition looks ugly — bipolar; black and white; glittering Sochi against atrocities — including the sniping of pregnant women — taking place in Syria; the patriotic and rousing concert at Palmyra placed in time less than a day before the Russian bombing of a Syrian refugee camp; and so on.
Found on Twitter this morning from Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs —
“These rallies are not real,” complained West Bank university professor Abdel Sattar Qassem. “They are similar to what Arab intelligence agencies have been doing — using blackmail and intimidation to force their public servants to show loyalty for the ruler.”