Earlier today, in an effort to clear things up, I contacted the Russian Embassy. Other than snorting at my question the chap in the Press Office asked only: “What the ‘Chuckle Brothers?’” before saying he could not make a comment on the issue. Obviously, the Russians are finding this nonsense has hilarious as the rest of us. An hour later the Embassy tweeted an image of the suspects beside an image of the of the UK military clean-up operation in which the experts are kitted out in serious looking yellow hazmat suits and oxygen masks. Russians just must be hardier souls.
The grooming of vulnerable children for sexual exploitation is an undeniable reality, and it is a fact that in most of the cases uncovered in England the majority of the perpetrators have been men from British-Pakistani backgrounds. But to limit our analysis of this crime to the criminals’ religions and ethnicities singularly fails to grasp the true nature and scope of the problem. It ignores the facts that most sex offenders who commit crimes against children are lone white males and that organised grooming for sexual exploitation is nothing new.
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.
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.
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.
The truth, whatever that is in this post-truth environment, is for the moment impossible to discern. Neither side in the conflict wants us to know what is actually going on. What is clear is that this is a proxy war being fought out in Syria between the US and Russia, a conflict that is bringing us ever closer to a more serious and global showdown