What’s a strategos? A general, in Greek, the commander of an army. What does an army do? War. What have humanoids done in the last fifteen million years? War. Who are we? The descendants from ancestors who won a billion wars.
War, that’s who we are (as Obama would not dare to say, although he thinks it, weakly). Some may mumble something pacifist, or Buddhist, deny our nature, conflate thinking and comfort. However, some of the fiercest, most ferocious states in the last millennium were Buddhist. Just ask the Mongols. Genghis Khan annihilated the Buddhist Xi Xia empire (because he had been enslaved by it). Or ask non-Buddhist minorities living in Myanmar/Burma. In Medieval Japan, not particularly a nice place for the commons, the elite was Zen Buddhist (with a veneer of ecologically correct Shintoism). Common crime of vulgar people would be strongly discourage with systematic crucifixion, insuring a global Zen attitude.
Vladimir Putin has started carpet bombing of Syria, to regain control the way he did in Chechnya: by killing civilians as needed. Now Putin and Assad have launched the siege of Aleppo. It could starve 300,000.
The war in Syria is a serious thing: the latest estimate in number of victims killed is close to 500,000. More than 11% of the Syrian population has been killed or wounded. All this had started as peaceful protests against Assad, the son of dictator Assad. For years now, Assad has replied by bombing schools and hospitals in rebel areas.
One has to remember that one of the financial support of the Islamist State (ISIL) has been Assad himself: he bought most of the oil from ISIL. One of the root of ISIL was the release, by Assad, of thousands of Muslim Fundamentalist prisoners, in the hope that, by starting their own Allah fanatical state, they would make the initially Secular opposition to the Syrian dictator disreputable. Assad is no less Machiavellian than Cesare Borgia (the nephew of the eponymous Pope, cardinal at 18 years of age, and the model, for Machiavel, of “The Prince”).
Same for Putin: Cesare Borgia, with nukes, and much more legitimacy to go even more crazy.
Roger Cohen in the New York Times had an excellent analysis. Enough is enough. U.S. abdication on Syria must end. http://wpo.st/tgIA1.
Vladimir Putin is leading, and, by letting Putin lead, Obama is collaborating with him, Putin. When good men do not oppose evil, they do not just do evil, they encourage evil to become even more evil.
We have seen similar situations in the 1930s and 1940s: evil, when unopposed, feel encouraged to grow some more, particularly when it emanates from a government.
What happened in the mid-1930s is the paradigm. Japan, Italy, Germany, and the USSR, invaded countries, respectively China, Ethiopia, and Spain, and were unopposed. Thus they were encouraged. By 1939, Hitler and Stalin found natural to invade Poland and Finland.
For example, Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin intervened forcefully in the Spanish Civil War. The French Republic wanted to intervene, but was discouraged by the American attitude to do so. The result was that Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini became persuaded they could intervene militarily with force, and without interference from the Western democracies.
The result? Hitler and Stalin became official allies, to everyone surprise, and carved between themselves Poland (September 1939). Then the Nazis felt free to engage in a deliberate extermination of the Poles, later extended to Jews and others, for a grand total of 3% of humanity killed.
Some say it will not happen again. Well, that’s what they said in 1913, and in 1914, all the way until the end of July. Then, persuaded by the visit of Colonel House, the right arm of president Wilson, that, not only the USA would not intervene, but the USA would try to help imperial Germany, the imperial fascists in Berlin declared war on France and Russia, and boldly attacked, invading other countries on the way. Doing so, they knew, since December 1912, because they had been told so by the British government, that Great Britain would respect the “Entente Cordiale”, and come to the help of France. In other words, since Sunday, December 11, 1912, the top six fascists at the head of Germany knew that attacking the French Republic and Russia would cause a world war. They knew, so they intended to win it fast, before the British could build up their army.
It is more reasonable to expect that the same causes will bring the same effects: the more the forces of evil are free to do whatever they want, the more encouraged they are. If Putin succeeds in Syria, he will not just comfort Assad’s dictatorship.
After a while, the Russian population, considering the weakening of the economy, will have to launch another war. Hitler had the exact same situation in early 1939 (contrarily to repute, the Nazi economy, stressed by intense militarization, the persecution and expulsion of Socialists, Communists, Jews, etc., was in great difficulty in the late 1930s).
Thus Putin may be tempted to let his tanks will roll some more in Europe. Like most fascist everywhere, war is what justifies one-man rule best.
Obama may look very wise, advanced, pacifist and reasonable, but his supine attitude feeds the worst moods, the worst strategies, the worst inclinations, the worst outcomes. And what to say of Europe? Syria was part of the Roman empire for seven centuries. Before that it was Phoenician, and where Princess Europe came from. If Europe cannot impose Human Rights where she comes from, does it deserves to go anywhere? Anywhere good?
Some will say it costs money to impose command (= empire). However, the economic weakness of Europe emanates directly from the fact it belongs more to the American empire than to a putative European empire. Look at the four largest market capitalization companies: Alphabet (aka “Google”), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook. All from the West Coast of the USA, three from San Francisco (aka “Silicon Valley”). All paying no significant European taxes and exerting monopoly powers, propped by inventions a majority of which, arguably, were made in Europe. That’s lack of European empire showing up, ladies and gentlemen. It’s also American empire imposed.
So European impotence in Syria is also European economic impotence. And the American strategy to let the dogs of war run in Europe, as I have pointed out many times, was most profitable… to the USA. So maybe Obama is a traditionalist, after all. An American traditionalist: encourage the best European fascist you can find, see what happens…
As the difficulties of the financial markets presently show, sweeping evil under the rug is no heavens, medium term. Sweeping evil below indifference is how civilization killing infection festers.