By Jason Michael
Our political systems are becoming more totalitarian, we have lost control of the war in Syria, our states are bending in the face of a refugee crisis, and the Russians are coming. It’s not unreasonable to ask what we should expect to happen next.
Right now – in case it has escaped anyone’s notice – the United States, Britain, France, an assortment of other EU member states including Germany and the Netherlands, together with Australia and Canada are engaged in a proxy war in Syria against the Syrian government and its supporters; Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Belarus. Take a moment to absorb that information. This titanomachic conflict in Syria already amounts to what is a world war in miniature, the product of which is the single largest displacement of refugees in human history. This is serious.
A year ago we thought this was big, but recent geopolitical events have indicated that this chaos is only the beginning of something far more explosive. Since the start of the US instigated civil war more than eleven million Syrians have fled their homes, with almost five million moving to Jordan and Turkey, and somewhere in the region of a million moving into the European Union. In outright violation of international law the EU has attempted to stem the influx of the civilian victims of its war, and has gone as far as bribing the Turkish government to deal with “the problem.”
Brexiteers have no right to the poppy. They dishonour the memories of those who fought fascism and welcomed its refugees.—
Conor McBride (@pigworker) November 11, 2016
European democracies, feeling the internal pressure caused by the refugee crisis, and significantly influenced by a criminally irresponsible and xenophobic media, have veered rapidly to the right. In the United Kingdom, as we know, the issues of migration and sovereignty over borders were important factors in the decision of England and Wales to leave the European Union. That the election of Donald Trump to the White House has been touted as “Brexit Max” highlights the fact that the same fears are shaping the decisions of the United States. By the end of next year there will have been a presidential election in France and a general election in Germany. It can only be expected, at this point, that these elections will further cement Europe’s shift to the political right.
In the short term this will slow the progress of globalisation; which in many respects is a positive outcome, and shatter completely the prevailing neoliberal political centrist consensus. Arguably this latter effect is also a welcome change, but that the bricks of this structure are toppling to the right is a matter of grave concern. Our democratic institutions have evolved to follow the fastest route to power rather than prioritising the stability of the state, and so the likely outcome of this collapse will be a race to the right for votes and greater political and state instability.
What happens after this will always be impossible to predict accurately, yet the signs that are visible to us do not offer much cause for optimism. Over the eight years of the Obama administration the United States and the European Union have maintained a policy of hemming Russia in behind a new Iron Curtain; increasing military support to the Baltic, renewing Eastern European and Turkish nuclear missile sites, and systematically monopolising oil and petrochemical resources in the Middle East. Putin’s response, more recently, has been to expand back into the Crimea to restore naval access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and to protect his ally and oil supplier Assad in Syrian.
Russia’s entire northern fleet – a new addition to the party in Syria – hasn’t arrived on the scene for show. It is not even likely that this battle ready flotilla will all return home the same way it came. Putin, with a message to send to America’s allies in Ankara, will more than likely sail some – if not all – of this fleet through the Dardanelles into the Black Sea to send another message to all the Western Powers currently aiding Ukraine.
Adel Darwish (@AdelDarwish) October 30, 2016
Putting all of this in context it is worthwhile noting that the Doomsday Clock is now set at three minutes to midnight, that is a whole sixty seconds closer to nuclear war than it was in 1981 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan during the height of the Cold War.
We are not at a particularly good time for global peace and security right now. Certainly we would like to think that we have moved beyond the prospect of apocalyptic warfare, but this is a dangerous illusion. The pillars of certainty have been shaken, and far worse so than we had thought imaginable not five years ago. The good news – readers might need some – is that an escalation of this conflict is not inevitable. Moves can be made to normalise international relations and restore the equilibrium of domestic politics in Europe and the United States. We are still democracies, and this means that the power is still in the hands of the people… well, theoretically at any rate. This may well be the last chance we have to rescue calm and conscientious government. This is something we can no longer afford to be complacent about. This is serious.
Russian Insider: US prepares for the war against Russia in Syria
Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)