Leadership in the west is in crisis. Post-Brexit the European Union will be faced with the necessity of further political integration and the internal resistance this will inevitably provoke. It may be decades before the EU is in a position again to move from consolidation to expansion. Brexit has put a significant dent in British soft power. The increasing isolation of London will push it closer to the point of becoming a US satellite, making it ever more likely to follow US hard power policies.
A staged gas attack provides the US and its allies a justification for military intervention in a conflict in which they have strategic interests. The British may be telling the truth, but their outrageous and criminal behaviour in other conflicts gives us no reason to trust them. Britain is not the most trustworthy state, and so it is understandable that people will accept Russia’s claims over whatever London has to say.
We cannot ignore the threads linking the clandestine activities of UK and US foreign intelligence serves to this mayhem. To do that would be stupid. It is costing lives, and we are paying for it.
As these events bring us closer to war between the US and Russia, the narrative of another Syrian chemical attack on civilians is problematic to say the least. Why would Assad risk provoking direct US intervention only days after the US ambassador to the United Nations stated that US policy was no longer directed towards removing him from power?
In direct contravention of the Geneva Convention on Refugees the door to the United States has been closed on Syrian refugees, leaving them stranded and homeless either in a warzone or in other nations where their rights are being daily violated.
Without a single shred of verifiable evidence the White House has “retaliated” against Putin’s Russia for its alleged involvement in the hacking of DNC email accounts during the recent presidential election by expelling 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying and promising a whole raft of sanctions against Russia.
Right now Syria strikes us as a place of terrible and horrible endings, a country rent asunder by the violence of war and unimaginable bloodshed. We have heard of a revolution gone wrong, internecine sectarian conflicts, the brutality of a despotic state, and powerful foreign intervention on every side.
With startling parallels with the June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the event that ultimately triggered the First World War, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been gunned down in Ankara.