Yet another overture is being played, for the magnum opus of Armageddon, the long-predicted final battle between good and evil (i.e., us vs. them) somewhere not far from Israel. Others have been played before, in 1967, for example, but this one centered on Syria is shaping up to be quite a doozie. Nearly all players in the region are tuning up their instruments, and for good measure the US, UK, France and Russia are itching to join. Those four plus Israel and nearby Pakistan with its heavy Taliban infestation all have the bomb, and Iran may soon have. That would make seven fingers, hovering over seven buttons.
Nuclear war would be the one thing that could disrupt the progress towards a free society that is integral to the ongoing educational program using one-to-one introduction and exponential growth, of which I've written here before. It's not feasible to re-educate people who have been fried; the truth “one nuclear bomb would ruin your whole day” is simply undeniable. So there is a race on; the US program (on reasonable assumptions) will be complete by about 2027, but if the present Syrian Overture does lead to the main work before then, we're scuppered.
As usual, with great events the key question is “Why?” And as usual, the major media either don't know or aren't saying. So this offers one attempt to figure out what's going on.
It's greatly assisted by a recent analysis by Pat Buchanan, who despite his irrational trust in hindrances to international trade is a very good historian indeed. He takes us back to 1915, when in the throes of WWI the British government made a couple of contradictory, oral promises. Those are the kind that are even less binding than G.W. Bush's “goddam piece of paper.” It promised Arabs post-war independence from the Ottoman Empire, with possession of great swaths of land South and East of Turkey if they would support the Allies against the Central Powers, but simultaneously promised one of those swaths to Zionists like the chemist Azriel Weizmann, if only he would hurry and synthesize explosives from acetone so that more Germans could be blown up. (He did, and they were; little wonder Hitler hated Jews.) The war was narrowly won, with American help, so both expected fulfillment. Oops!
Hence the ongoing squabble about Israel, and the hostility of Muslim Arabs. It all goes back to the McMahon Agreement which promised Arab independence, to the Balfour Declaration which promised Palestine to Jews, and to Sykes-Picot, a secret deal which contradicted both by carving up the whole region under French and British imperial control. Borders were drawn with strokes of the pen, regardless of cultural and religious groupings that existed in reality, so Shia were thrown together with Sunni in the same “country.” Again: oops.
Now for how this blends in with the nasty squabble in Syria.
Assad is an Alawite, a sect sort of friendly to the Shia, and anyway he is secular, shaving and wearing suits. Christians have his protection. Businesspeople favor him over whatever the hot-headed rebels may bring. His government is as savage as the rest and more so than most, but he is the known devil and it seems silly to spill blood to put him down. Iran is also Shiite, and is his favorite ally. So we have Qatar and Saudi Arabia, being Sunni, backing rebels and Iran and Southern Lebanon, being Shia, backing Assad. The Muslim world is lining up for the war. But meanwhile, Iran is the one that threatened to drive Israel into the sea, so the Israeli state is understandably distrustful of Iran and all who sail with her – including Syria. And as we know, Israel has formidable influence in Washington, D.C.
Obama has his hands full, so has deputized the UK, as I see it, to funnel resources into rebel hands, to tip the balance in Israel's favor. The UK has for long been a US lapdog, so the Conservative government there is asking the Socialist one here only how high to jump.
That leaves France and Russia, and as usual the latter is the more enigmatic. It's been a long while since the French put themselves out to favor the US, but they do have a strong Israeli influence at work in Paris, and France was, recall, once in control of Syria and Lebanon, so may feel romantically impelled to intervene with the UK – with whom they share an aircraft carrier! – to regain a little gloire. Russia is in contrast definitely pro-Assad, possibly because they really, really want a warm-water port and Assad supplies it – even though the route from Moscow to Tartus has to pass through the various countries, including where Kurdistan would be, if Kurds were allowed to have a Stan (see map). And then there is Assad's ally Shia Iran, with its long, warm coastline on the Persian Gulf, over which Putin can salivate.
I hope you're not dizzy yet. This Overture is definitely in the genre of John Cage.
Buchanan reckons we're in for a 30-year intra-Muslim war, and while deploring the death of any human being, I can't get wildly excited about that since Islam is, was and probably forever will be a politico-religious movement founded on the sword. Who knows, perhaps the carnage will persuade those affected to let go their absurd reliance on such irrational beliefs. But as he also says, “It's not America's war.” Dead right. Nor that of any civilized people.
Seems to me that what prevails today is a form of chaos. Syrians just want to get on with life and trade with each other – but they are restricted by a government. Now they are hounded by several groups which want to replace that government, though with no clear promise of improvement; to the extent that some of them are religious zealots, were they to succeed the lot of ordinary folk would be even worse. This rivalry is punctuated by bombing and gunfire; one goes for a walk, there is no assurance of returning alive. Recently even a journalist was killed in the crossfire. Such non-predictability is what “chaos” means.
So, many hundreds of thousands of Syrians, tired of being bombed and shot at, uproot themselves and go to live under a different government, in tents. Those places are very ill equipped to receive them; so great numbers of peaceful, productive people are rendered useless, placed in limbo, while overburdening the resources of their hosts in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, etc. This is irrational. It's chaos.
Others flee further, joining similar refugees from violent rivalry in the war to govern Iraq; they leave their cultural environment and settle in a wholly foreign one, where they can barely function even if they pick up some of the language; and because they place a burden on those hosts, in Northern Europe, they are resented and marginalized. All this is chaos.
Those hosts are themselves ruled by governments that interfere with the labor (and other) markets so that the least qualified are, irrationally, forbidden to get work. Therefore they stay idle, while others are forced to pay to keep them alive. Not surprisingly, this generates deep frustration, as for example in the Stockholm riots last month; they create mayhem, setting fire to buildings and to cars in the very quarter where many of them live, fouling as it were their own nests. This is chaos; and governments caused it.
Meanwhile, politicians in suits wring their hands and make speeches and set about sending more armaments to the rivals in Syria – those who govern, and those who want to govern. They say they want an end to the civil war, but provide the rivals with the means to prolong it. They propose a conference in Geneva, but make it clear that its purpose is to settle not whether Assad steps down, but how and when, and then act surprised when he declines to attend. This is all chaos, and governments are causing it.
They proclaim their profound belief in democracy, and make war in two countries in one decade to try to impose it on societies that do not want it and whose centuries-long cultural background probably cannot accommodate it, yet now try to destroy one of the few societies in the region were elections are held. Democracy is dreadful, but this is chaos.
Before this catalog of government chaos becomes too long, notice lastly that whereas for a dozen years the FedGov has allegedly been waging a “war on terror” (as if “terror” were an entity on which war can be waged) with Al Q'eda in the center of its crosshairs, at least one of the rivals fighting to rule Syria is closely allied with Al Q'eda and the Feds want to support them. Such irrationality is chaos.
And yet, in supreme arrogance, government people indoctrinate every rising generation with the absolute fiction that anarchism equates to chaos!
The good news is that when this fantastic contradiction is finally grasped, the reaction will be total. When someone realizes he has been suckered and swindled all his life, he will have no doubt at all who is his real enemy. All we have to do is to help everyone grasp it.