The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare — John Steppling | Counterpunch


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The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare

“The view that Syria is under attack because it isn’t a western puppet state, and that Washington wants Assad to step down to make it one, cannot be so easily dismissed. There’s plenty of evidence that states that seek to remain independent of US prescriptions on how they ought to organize their economies and foreign policies are uniquely targeted for sub-critical warfare (sanctions, sabotage, demonization, diplomatic isolation), or—where a military victory can be secured with impunity for the aggressor—by outright military intervention.

The Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who NATO forces worked tirelessly to depose, told Canadian lawyer Christopher Black that Washington sought his ouster for two reasons: Because he was a communist. And because he told the Americans to go fuck themselves. Which is to say, Milosevic refused to turn Yugoslavia into a western puppet state.

Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi was overthrown because he insisted that foreign investment in Libya work to the benefit of Libyans, an attitude that threatened to cut into the profit margins of Western investors. The US State Department complained that Gaddafi was practicing “resource nationalism,” while oil companies reacted bitterly to the tough bargains he was driving. This was hardly behavior befitting a western puppet state (which Libya wasn’t.) For telling Western oil companies that they could go fuck themselves if they thought they were going to get rich on Libyan oil while leaving Libya with nothing, Gaddafi, in the view of the Western foreign policy elite, had to go.

Stephen Gowans, 2014

The last Presidential non-debate is mercifully over and the Clinton regime can rest comfortable it is about to assume power. Questions remain as to just how committed (if at all) the Donald was to winning this election, but whatever the case, whatever mechanisms were employed to put him at the top of the Republican ticket, the one clear thing is that the Republican Party is dead. Or maybe it has simply merged with the Democratic Party. The Republicans could offer no alternative save the fanatic Christian Ted Cruz or the squirrelly Paul Ryan as an alternative. Oh, and poor Marco Rubio. Remember that the previous election featured a wealthy Mormon and the laughable figure of John McCain.

A leaked DNC memo in fact listed Cruz and Trump as potential pied piper candidates who would help erode credibility in the Republican Party (not hard, that) and lead the children (to keep to the metaphor) back to the Democratic Party, regardless how awful its own candidate. In any event, Trump can return to his new media empire (with new money and new partners such as Steve Bannon). Meanwhile the spectacle of U.S. electoral discourse has been reduced to a barrage of anti-Putin propaganda and a cartoon level public dialogue that treats the election as if it is a schoolyard fight where the tough girl gets to kick ass over the rapey rich kid. Richy Rich is punked by war hungry Imperialist and a lifetime criminal who happens to be a woman. This was the week that saw an endless series of memes featuring Hillary as a triumphant feminist heroine. The competency theme seemed to have picked up momentum, no doubt due to Trump’s history of archaic sexist treatment of women in his employ and even not in his employ. You’d almost think he WANTED this stuff to get out there. To get out there right at this moment, right before the election.

But then I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being handled. That every wikileak and email and revelation of groping was being calculated and served up to direct attention away from the fact that the U.S. military is now actively involved in the Saudi war crimes in Yemen and that Clinton (who seems more in control of foreign policy than Obama at the moment) is ratcheting up the provocations with Russia and Putin. And the arena for this new cold-soon-to-be-hot war is Syria.

And that brings me back to the cultural perception of Syria and the Arab (and Persian) world in general. Syria was both a product of colonialism in the sense its borders were drawn up by the French and English and the shadows that cast, but from which came (again) an anti Imperialism and Arab nationalism that featured a hybrid socialism and a fierce independence. The U.S. has never tolerated those leaders of small and even not so small countries that refused to “liberalize the economy”. That is short hand for becoming a client state. Chavez embraced Assad because he recognized an ally in the fight against global capital. The road to socialism is not easy. Ask the Sandinistas.

As Roger Harris wrote in July of this year…

“But even more important for Venezuela, as for any other capitalist country, is that the commanding heights of the national economy are controlled by an owning class whose antipathy of social change is immense. This includes not only the manufacturing, service, and major agricultural sectors, but a privately owned and rabidly hostile mass media.
In addition, the Venezuelan economy is integrated with the world economy, which is dominated by institutions with a neo-liberal agenda of all power to capital. And over-arching all of this is the US government organizing, funding, and directing the domestic and international opposition to the Chávista project.”

Assad rejected the Qatar oil pipeline deal in 2009. From there on out there was never going to be but one conclusion to the story. And Hillary Clinton has openly said this. Assad must go. And yet the U.S. public seems far more interested and worried about Trump and his theoretical broship with Putin. Or the supposed hacking of the DNC by Putin, except any cyber expert will tell you its impossible to determine attribution. But people believe it anyway. Qaddafi cancelled that billion dollar deal with Bechtel and found himself tortured and murdered courtesy of Madame Clinton. Assad faces a similar fate.

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