April 8, 2017

Looming war with Russia over who shapes post-war Syria?

In a few days, Sec of State Tillerson heads to Moscow. Now that American-Russian relations have soured, especially over Syria, it's worth asking a simple basic question: Why would Russia now allow us a role in shaping Syria after the war is all wrapped up?

Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, the efforts to put down the jihadists and stabilize the society in Syria has always come from Russia (and to a lesser extent, Iran), not from the US, EU, or the Arab League. As of 2015, that includes military intervention, not only the diplomatic and supplying roles they had played before.

See here for an overview, here for military intervention, and here for diplomatic leadership in the peace process.

Since Russia has played the decisive role in turning the tide against the jihadists, and before long ironing out the remaining wrinkles, they will play the primary role in crafting post-war Syria -- its government, economy (oil pipelines), military, and so on. Iran will also play a decent role for its involvement on the winning side.

What investment in stabilization can the globalists in the US State Dept, military, and White House point to? At least Obama didn't take out Assad, and he did fight ISIS somewhat. Beyond that, our involvement has been to leave the secular regime high-and-dry, while arming and providing propaganda cover for the jihadists not named ISIS (al-Nusra et al).

Our allies in the region have also been in favor of winking at the jihadists while fighting against only the ISIS fighters among them, possibly even favoring to depose Assad. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey -- they, along with us, have been on the wrong side of history, not only in the moral sense of supporting jihadists, but backing the losing side in a war.

Our side, both the US and its allies, is also bitterly opposed to Russia's main ally and the secondary force for stabilizing Syria, Iran.

Over history, Syria has been aligned with the Soviet Union and Russia since the end of WWII. Their diplomatic, economic, and military bonds are stronger and deeper than either nation's bonds are with us.

Any way you look at it, Russia has invested tons more in the Syrian civil war and peace process, and importantly on the winning side. We have stayed more on the sidelines, and tended to back the wrong side when we did get involved.

Having put so much skin in the game, Russia is going to push for its own delegation to be the primary shaper from outside of the country itself. Secondarily the influence will go to Iran. Both are located close to Syria, and have more of a vested interest in the region's security.

Even if there had been a spirit of cooperation between the US and Russia, the Russians would push for more influence on account of having risked more and sacrificed more. But now that relations have gone from frosty to heating-up, they will be even less inclined for the US to play much of a role at all in shaping postwar Syria.

The American Deep State and military brass have twisted Trump's arm into striking Assad, against years of his arguing for the exact opposite (right through October 2016). Being in control of the armed forces that undergird his authority, they have leverage over his plans in a way that other big actors do not (Chamber of Commerce, illegal immigrants, and so on).

This was done as some kind of display of strength, presumably leading up to a negotiation of some kind -- likely the peace process talks that determine how Syria will operate after the civil war is completed. Their tough talk about "maybe Russia was involved in the chemical attack themselves, not just their client Assad," plays a similar function, turning up the heat ahead of sitting down at the bargaining table.

In the past few days, we've been wondering if Assad will ultimately go or not, and if so, who has input over his successor -- he would be someone to the liking of both Russia and the US. But given how distinct Russia's interests are from the US's interests in that country and region, it's unlikely that their goals will harmonize an awful lot -- not just about the individual leading the government, but who will benefit from oil pipelines, who gets which military bases, which areas provide buffer zones against whose vulnerable spots, and on and on.

So, the American foreign policy Establishment turning up the heat on Russia is unlikely to yield much at the negotiating table. They have contributed relatively little to stabilization (if anything, mostly destabilizing by supporting jihadists), have mostly sought the most destabilizing diplomatic option (Assad goes, before jihadists have been brought under control), and have taken unilateral military action against another party's client.

Then we arrive at the stage where a truly hot conflict breaks out, given that the US Establishment seems unwilling to back down or even moderate their tone and posture toward Russia vis-a-vis Syria. At that point, the question is who wants the influence over postwar Syria more -- who has invested the most already, and who stands the most to lose if they get little in return?

That is obviously Russia. They will be far more committed to winning any military conflict that breaks out as a result of a showdown among the parties trying to get a piece of the Syrian pie.

Iran would immediately side with Russia, and that could easily trigger the US allies to join in too, as they're all united around countering Iran's growing sphere of influence. With Turkey on our side, perhaps that would draw in some major NATO countries as well -- particularly France, which seems to be champing at the bit to stick it to Russia, Iran, and Syria. (Here's to hoping Le Pen wins the election.)

Hell, maybe China joins in on the other side for good measure, seeking a piece of Russian / Iranian / Syrian oil.

This thing has the potential to blow wide open, which is why so many in the Trump movement have come against even the initial moves in that direction. We don't want to risk nuclear WWIII against Russia, whose nuclear program is not still run on floppy disks like ours.

For some perspective, imagine if America had at first supplied the Mexican government with arms in their battle against the drug cartels, and then we intervened outright with our military and decisively turned the tide against the cartels. With over five years of involvement, who knows how much money spent, and conducting peace talks between Mexican government officials and cartel representatives to finalize the conflict, we would want a hell of a lot out of it.

Now imagine some country that wasn't even involved, or even one that had been funding and arming several of those cartels, butts into the process and arrogantly demands a seat at the final negotiating table. Some country that isn't even from this hemisphere -- France, say. They want a piece of Mexican oil, and they start turning up the heat on the United States ahead of meeting with us, hoping to psych us out of imposing our will on the post-cartel landscape of Mexico.

We'd slap them so fast it'll make ya head spin. And we can expect Russia to respond likewise when the US foreign policy Establishment and Deep State try to butt their way into the postwar process in Syria.

Who knows for certain who would prevail, especially considering the vagaries of which other countries would join us and which would join Russia?

But setting us onto this course toward potential nuclear WWIII cannot be tolerated. Not just because we have very little basis for demanding a role in the shaping process, given our record, but because on a pragmatic level, Russia stands to lose a lot more from being the first to swerve in this great big game of chicken -- so they won't, and either we'll swerve and look stupid and weak, or we'll choose to collide and fuck our country over for the next generation.


  1. Excellent post, Ag. The thesis of Ron Unz, the Russian commenter I pointed to yesterday, and various European intellectuals make it hard to come to any other conclusion that our leaders are insane and our media is Pravda. I would add to this critique, "detached", as well. Just like the rest of the Ruling Class.

    And it really is like Lawrence Auster said: we (the West) switched places with the USSR and we really may take an outside force, the Christian Russia, to help liberate us from the demonic.

  2. It's a combination of being clueless and hyper-competitive at the same time.

    Both stem from insulation or lack of experience -- America last fought a major power in WWII. It fought against China in the Korean War, but China was not that mighty back then, and still had to pull out, with the country remaining divided today.

    After that, we only fight third-world countries, and even then lose or stalemate some big ones -- Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

    Today's leaders were either toddlers or not yet born during WWII, and none of them was shaped by the real big disaster of WWI.

    That lack of experience against a major power means they have no solid intuition about how to navigate. They're totally winging it.

    It also means they show no prudence or caution in charging full steam ahead, because doing so has never brought them into potential annihilation -- at worst, getting bogged down in a quagmire, but not getting wiped out like the Europeans did in WWI (or Napoleonic Wars, or Thirty Years War, or other once-a-century wars).

    In fairness, neither has Russia -- their last major power encounter was also WWII, and they've gotten bogged down into quagmires of their own (Afghanistan).

    But Russia has gotten a head start on preparing for such an encounter, over the past 10-15 years, as Putin has consolidated a new nation out of the anarchy and foreign rape of the 1990s.

    Aside from their head start, they simply have far more invested in Syria and far more to lose if somebody else elbows their way into the negotiating table to draw up plans for the postwar picture.

    So they're both more likely to stay resolute in a game of chicken, and they're relatively better prepared for using other means to drive the other car off-track and to sustain a collision in the worst-case scenario.

  3. Trump has checkmated himself. One more chemical attack, bogus or not, and Trump escalates or he looks weak. The US's "allies" in the region want more US involvement, so do neocons and military brass. The base doesn't. Trump will have to choose. He is surrounded by (((them))), and that doesn't bode well for us.

  4. Christian Russia is not going to liberate us from anything, it is an entirely foreign society to our own.

    Changing things here will only happen organically from within, as Americans (English, French, etc.) declare they've had enough of these pointless wars where now we also face the risk of annihilation rather than "only" trillions of dollars in debt.

    Sadly, that's more likely to come as a reaction after the Establishment has already put us on a collision course with a nuclear superpower.

    But who knows in the age of the internet? Hopefully word can get around much faster, and the popular anti-war sentiment harden into place further in advance.

    Either way, that's going to come from internal dynamics, not an external liberator. (Although we would certainly cheer him along if Putin goes on to Make Constantinople Great Again).

  5. Trump hasn't checkmated himself -- he's having to bow to the military brass and allied factions within the Deep State, lest they yank their support from him, and he sits without a basis for authority (force).

    Now, we know that Trump knows everything we're saying, and agrees with us. He's been saying it since 2013 vis-a-vis regime change in Syria, right up through the general election -- "a shooting war in Syria could drag us into WWIII".

    So within the game of chicken between the US Establishment and Russia, there's also a potential struggle between Trump and his allies in the government vs. the warhawks.

    Trump may try to thread the needle, allowing some action against Russia / Assad but trying to keep it as minimal as possible, and with as much advance warning as possible.

    But I'm not sure that's going to be enough to satisfy the military hawks -- they want a real war against Russia and Iran, potentially bringing in the jihadist states of the M.E. and the nuclear powers of NATO. The foreign policy people are salivating over being the main shapers of the postwar landscape in Syria, after the warhawks supposedly move Russia out of the picture.

    The only hope is for an anti-war movement to give Trump cover for de-escalating -- he could tell the hawks that he has to bow to popular pressure, or risk a violent revolution.

    Now when that happened during Vietnam, the hawks eventually backed off rather than provoke further social chaos.

    But that was during the Great Compression, when the leaders still had something of a mind toward maintaining stability here in America.

    By now, the rise of hyper-competitiveness has seen the elite totally check out from concerns about domestic stability. They want their imperial ambitions no matter what the cost.

    Perhaps a widespread anti-war movement would not be like Vietnam, but more like WWI, where the use of force severely cracked down on citizens, civil liberties went out the door, and immigrant agitators were deported back to where they came from (good riddance in their case).

    That was right around the time of all those major race riots, and armed labor uprisings...

    Peter Turchin keeps saying, circa 2020, the shit is going to hit the fan. We'd better try to head it off in the meantime and learn some damn lessons from history.

    1. If he goes too soft: more pee, other perverted, dossiers fabricated plus intelligence reports cooked up to show Hillary would have won but for his nefariousness (involving Russia, of course to butter up the people for war. 2 birds, 1 stone). Directly piped to the Washington Post and New York Times...
      Trump can have half the country rage at him, or he can do what the MIC wants.
      Schumer wasn't kidding about those guys, was he?

  6. By now the CIA is discredited in the eyes of normal Americans, at least regarding Trump and any non-American connections or leanings.

    They can release as many phony dossiers as they want -- the first didn't do diddly squat, and neither will any others. In fact, it'll look more and more obvious that they're desperate, lying, and crying "wolf".

    It's only the parts of the Deep State and Establishment that are part of the legitimate monopoly on force that have any leverage over Trump, not the intel people.

  7. https://medium.com/@shadowbrokerss/dont-forget-your-base-867d304a94b1

    The most epic shitpost ever written. They drop the Chinese-like talk at the end and reveal many of them used to US Deep State.

    1. Someone said the first, troll-y part is easier to read if you imagine Golum. Maybe that's way it was meant to be? Doesn't matter cuz they drop the act at the end to get serious.

  8. https://goo.gl/images/kuw1wx
    Speaking of Golum, I swear LOTR people are such nerds, God love 'em! Anglosphere has this weird thing with fantasy... Is that owing to the Celts, Ag? I wonder if Australia is the same...
    The UK seems to have lost its magic, though. Can't see my favorites, the mischievous fairies, coming to us from there
    :( But perhaps they're hiding and I just don't know they're there.

  9. One major reason to be skeptical of 88D chess / kayfabe explanations in the area of war is that it assumes far too much harmony amongst the many many actors.

    Trump can stage something on his own if he has all the relevant info, connections to media / Twitter, and so on. Waffling on amnesty, building up suspense, then BOOM no amnesty while at a massive rally in Arizona.

    That's all him.

    In the international arena, especially regarding war, especially in the Middle East of all places, and especially with a stone-faced group of Slavs with nuclear weapons on the other side -- he no longer has the control to orchestrate a puppet show for the audience.

    That's leaving aside all the other international actors with their own distinct interests and goals, in the M.E. and Europe.

    The simplest explanation is that things are starting to veer in the wrong direction, and the Russian, Syrian, and American leaders are all trying to make the best of a bad situation, subject to forces beyond their control.

    Trump is pushed by the military faction of Deep State, and Putin is pushed by his own hardliners to get the al-Nusra supporting US out of Syria for good, and not allow them a spot at the table to determine its postwar fate.

    If it turns out that they avoid catastrophe, that's not 4D chess just because it's a miracle.

    1. *That* is the thing I've seen most missing from analyses across the spectrum: Internal US factions aren't the only actors on the stage, but most seem to talk and behave as though we are.

      Has anybody else imagined what a US city hit by a nuclear weapon would be like? One hitting DC? Is there a single talking head or journalist who has broached the topic?

      Not to be hysterical, but we need to be much closer to that mindset than where we are now.

      There are so many peoples affected, worried they could be affected, or even simply worried about the ripple effects of the fallout *from the effects* (pause to breathe) to their homelands.

      One thing I realized last year was how many people there are like us out there and they worry deeply about the globalists, specifically and most of all, those here in the US. Julian Assange, for a famous example.

      War takes on a mind of its own, the fury it can unleash...

  10. You've got Nikki Haley making statements today like "we think ousting Assad is a priority"...

    ...and then you have much more tempered remarks from Tillerson:


    His talking points are consistent with his statement from Thursday afternoon, made before the missile launch. First, take out ISIS; then stabilize Syria, and lastly, negotiate a transfer of power. He specifically mentions the Syrian "regime" and Russia being part of that process.

    At this moment, it's hard to envision how transfer of power would be worked out, but what's at least encouraging is that Tillerson keeps putting focus on defeating ISIS as the priority. Given that this is the second time in a few days that Tillerson has articulated this three-tier policy, I can only assume that it represents formulated policy at the State Department.

    My hope is that Trump views the UN as a side-show, where he can send someone like Haley to do the usual USA act, while he and Tillerson conduct actual business.

  11. The stuff I'm seeing from Partisan Girl, Cernovich tonight... I'm despondent. Drank, which I never do anymore, crying... I'm so upset, angry, and afraid.
    Cernovich just said he's coming out with something huge tonight. We need some good news.

  12. "First, take out ISIS; then stabilize Syria, and lastly, negotiate a transfer of power. He specifically mentions the Syrian "regime" and Russia being part of that process."

    Now imagine the response from the Russians: Oh gee, how beneficent that we are allowed to take part in finalizing the conflict that we alone have been investing in big-league, while the US was either sitting it out or helping the jihadists not named ISIS.

    That's the point of this post: we think that there's only the American will to be imposed, and it's only a matter of whether it's insane (neocons) or hopeful (Trump).

    Not in this case, since it will be Russia as the senior power shaping Syria post-war. To the victor go the spoils -- Russia won, fair and square, while we were MIA or arming al-Qaeda.

    Whether you buy that moral argument (to the victor go the spoils), you have to at least buy the pragmatic argument -- the Russian hunting party just brought down the jihadist mastodon in Syria, and like hell they're going to allow a pack of scavengers like the US diplomats to elbow their way into the preparation and feast of their kill.

  13. On that point, the hardliners in Russia (Putin is the *good* cop) will be pushing to totally exclude us for "our" (Obama's) shameful role during the entire conflict.

    It doesn't matter if Trump truly wanted to reverse Obama's policy and side with Putin -- we are Johnny-come-lately to the stabilization of Syria.

    Our hardliners (Trump / Tillerson are the *good* cop) will be pushing to hijack the postwar process, on behalf of the US and its allies, who were also MIA or arming jihadists not named ISIS (Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia). At best Russia and Iran would get token roles, if our hardliners had their way.

    Somehow the Russian and American diplomats have to work out a solution where Russia gets the major substantial role in shaping the outcome (anything less, and their hardliners push for nuclear WWIII), but America gets a Hollywood role for the cameras, making our demands equal to those that harmonize with Russia's, so it looks like Russia is compromising with us.

    International credit would go to both parties, perhaps even more to the American side. But everyone back home in Russia would know who really won the war for Assad, and would not get bitter that the US was getting praise for something it had little role in. We'd just have to make sure we didn't gloat.

  14. I included those three links at the start of the post for people to read the whole history of Russia's investment and involvement in Syria, not just during the civil war when they have been the major power bringing about stability and whacking the jihadists, but going back at least to WWII when Syria became a client state of the USSR.

    At least skim through them, and ask if you were in their position, how willing would you be to let the US or any other country waltz into the room and take over the negotiating table.

    Most of our idiots in the government don't even know that Syria was a Soviet client. Let's be more knowledgeable than the Swamp hacks before we get too sanguine about Russia vs. America in Syria.

  15. Oh my Jesus, thank you! It's something...

  16. "McMaster’s friends in the media, as part of a broader strategy to increase McMaster’s power, have claimed Jared Kushner and Bannon had a major falling out. In fact Kushner and Bannon are united in their opposition to McMaster’s plan."

    Holy s*#$! No wonder this all looked like funhouse mirrors...

  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0RQ8xe6neE

    Cernovich livestream, don't know if will be archived.

    1. Watching it...
      This would explain why so much of the palace intrigue stuff was being leaked to, among others, the Journolist Hate-Trump, Hate-Alpha Males crowd. Just couldn't imagine Kushner et al. getting in bed with people who have the most intense hatred for Trump. The Swin guy at Daily Beast? Published the most cringeworthy SJW anti-Trump piece in the election and *that* guy gets a major scoop. Damn, I knew there was something so way wrong with such emotional enemies being so privileged...

  18. Save before they're deleted...
    Ha ha! Just in the past two hours before Cernovich's scoop aired, one of these Trump-hating journos was trashing Gorka, and per Cernovich in his tweets, citing McMaster's feelings about him

    1. When you read over this, the other Journolisters involved... They don't appear to have ever paused to questioned, "why me?" Essential to being a journolist, you'd think. They are so myopic and eaten with jealous hatred of alpha-male Trump that it never once occurred to them to question the agenda, to see that they are being used in the role of the Golem-Mandarins enabling Imperialist war.

  19. Move on that guy's tweets and comments... people seemed comfortable, like getting well-known or was well-known, that McMaster was "cool" "independent" even "not a Trump loyalist".

  20. How f$!#:;g sad are these comments....

    Check out while fresh before retconning. Everyday Joe-Average Liberal was singing McMaster's praises because the MSM was reporting that he was diminishing the evil, awful Bannon... I've seen the same reactions many times, this wasn't a one-off...

    For the umpteenth time I feel: what has been done to these people's minds could pass for a war crime... Sad!


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