Monday, June 24, 2013

Syria: Part One - The Problem

Syria: The Dark Room Filled With Mousetraps

Even when we sift out the "talking points," the incessant story line offered by the domestic corporate media is not particularly promising.  Predictably, the tale being injected into the low information psyche of the American voter presents the grim hopelessness of a complex ballet conducted by intransigent international interests, notably, some of the scariest players ever invented for a single scene by our now notoriously unbelievable, corporately infamous "Fourth Estate."

The list of the larger, potential combatant players who have "pitched tents" in the war arena includes:

a well equipped Mediterranean naval fortress long coveted and finally realized by the ideologically eager, although  somewhat ambiguous, Russian Federation;

a literal Iranian Grey Hound bus and U-Haul truck route running across the destroyed remnants of George W. Bush's "imaginary ally," the now pissed off and utterly uncontrollable Iraq;

perhaps a hundred different "militias" comprised of pissed off Syrians -- each one of which is "always right" -- who want to be rid of their country's genetic dictator;

the trigger happy Israeli reactionaries sitting on a pile of h-bombs that is currently much shinier than than their rather frayed carte blanche US domestic political cover;

more than a few cautious Chinese oligarchs with big time Syrian investments, big time ambitions hosted by an opportunistic occidental business ethic and big time connections in the PRC's notoriously pragmatic, cash heavy, State Council; and 

the blood thirsty, religion crazed Lebanese Hezbollah completely inebriated by their latest local cleric with indulgent fantasies of renewing a Dark Ages Shi'a caliphate at any cost.

Of course there are additional faces here and there such as the now refugee saturated neighbors of Turkey and Jordan, what's left of the secular Lebanese government and military, the generous Arabian royal oligarchs -- Middle Eastern equivalents to our own craven banksters -- with their tantalizing but carefully limited arms shipments and, finally, the Europeans and other Westerners with their puzzled, uncertain, opinion poll rattled governments and media cultivated, nervous populations frantically trying to simultaneously remember and forget the last time they were here.

Rehashing all this chaos here on the blog, while tempting, would amount to little more than singing yet another dirgeful repetition of The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to an already thoroughly terrified, comatose, painfully inured, unwilling congregation.  [MeanMesa has previously published several posts on this topic: Syria and Russia, Syria in September - The Perfect Mousetrap,  Russia, China, Syria: Disgracing Great and Noble Revolutions and, After the Arab Spring: National Unity Teams ]

This is a rough, perhaps overly optimistic, picture of what is currently sitting on Barack Obama's policy desk in the Oval Office. Whatever decisions he may take in terms of the path ahead will be ruthlessly eviscerated by the "bought and paid for" Republican controlled Congress and the corporate domestic media -- both chortling out streams of poison for an audience of nodding, mindless, quivering psychological wrecks.

Happily, MeanMesa suspects that the President will, once again, more than live up to his formidable reputation as an effective mix of both a South Chicago pragmatist and a savvy, realistic political strategist.  For this round with the racists and reactionaries, he will also probably be showing both us and the world the thickness of his second term skin.

So, if we intend to propose an outline for American intervention in Syria, we will  find it necessary to consider all the elements:

the war fare strategy if there is to be some, 

the multi-sided, international diplomatic maneuvers, 

the structure in Syria of an American supported, post-Assad outcome and 

the labyrinthine domestic politics which will be required for Obama to do his job.

Because the fickle oligarch class in Congress can mount the mask of outraged isolationist in a heartbeat, the real story here can definitely not be entirely about the possible approach of the international war making circus at all.  The real story will be much more concerned with foreign policy and domestic politics than bullets and bombs.

Let's have a look at one disadvantage from the past that is still firmly "bolted" to our country today.  A big one.  A really big one.

Mending The Unending Damage of George W. Bush
Did anyone notice the difference between Afghanistan or Iraq and Libya?

Clearly, one major element in resolving Syria will arrive automatically from our own recent past.  Quite independent of all the other considerations for this current problem -- or, in fact, for any current problem -- will be the deathly foreign policy legacy of George W. Bush.  Of course, the Bush disasters were dismal, heartbreaking national failures, but they now penetrate the situation in Syria accompanied by the world's inevitable, pervasive mistrust, fear and hatred of a decade of violent incompetence.

Great suffering and injustice imposed at the hand of the US military.

When MeanMesa mentions Libya, we are talking about the "real" Libya and not Sean Hannity's gaseous, morbid comedy "scandal" about Benghazi.  This is relevant here because all the "cultural nightmare memory" of the Bush W. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq still settles like 1960's Los Angeles smog over ever instance of possible US intervention anywhere.  We saw this oozing out of the "mouth junk" boys when the Administration committed to the Libyan war to depose Gaddafi.

Of course the danger rests with the common presumption that the United States cannot intervene successfully -- anywhere, ever.  The same presumption also includes the idea that the United States cannot win a war -- anywhere, ever.  Perhaps even worse, now, more than a decade after the autocrat's military adventures began, a surprising number of Americans have been convinced that they cannot trust their government.

All of this is not an unfortunate coincidence.  The media injection of these carefully crafted divisive toxins was made possible and executed by oligarchs whose looting could benefit from the resulting cynicism.  Millions or billions of corporate dollars have resourced the scheme to provoke the American population's blind, constant march to this destructive credulity.

All this could be easily labelled as simply yet another little blog's woeful lament about George W. Bush's reign of disaster, but -- examined in the light of today's challenges -- that old President is here.  Still here.  The Bush damage remains a material, active and durable disadvantage, a correspondent from the past which now makes our impending involvement in Syria even more complex and difficult, and which still demands even more compensating labor and resources today.

 The 2013 MeanMesa Syria Series

MeanMesa is drawn to the task of formulating possible solutions to what confronts us.  As citizen-participants in our representative democracy we have responsibilities in times like these.

We must educate ourselves as well as possible about the facts -- not easily digestible pundit hyperbole -- before we form our conclusions about the President's decision to intervene.

Beyond this, we must also consider the situation to prepare our own thoughts about what role our nation should play in these events which now approach us.  There is absolutely no possible, conceivable reason justifying an attitude of "This doesn't really concern me, so I'll just let the government do it and then complain."

That admonition is directed at both the liberal visitors to Short Current Essays and "other minded" conservative citizens who are still more intent on domestic political advantages than they are on their responsibilities for our country.  The mesmerizing,  playful interlude of "nothing is real" has clearly passed.

Like it or not, this one is going to be real -- not just for Syria and its international players -- it's also going to be real for us.

MeanMesa will offer a post on each of the four individual focus points:

  • the war fare strategy if there is to be some, 
  • the multi-sided, international diplomatic maneuvers, 
  • the structure in Syria of an American supported, post-Assad outcome and 
  • the labyrinthine domestic politics which will be required for Obama to do his job.

during the next few days.  Please visit often.

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