Thursday, October 01, 2015

Syria, hypocrisy, and unusual honesty

Last year, the US started bombing Syria. As usual, there was no UN authorisation; they simply scraped together a bunch of vassals to form a new "coalition of the willing" and went ahead and did it. Unilateral action good!

Today, Russia started bombing Syria. They don't have UN permission either, but have just gone ahead and done it. The American reaction? Outrage, of course - complete with statements that Russia cannot act alone. Unilateral action bad!

American hypocrisy aside, I doubt this will do any good, any more than past bombing campaigns have. Sure, they'll spend millions of dollars, test their new weapons systems, get to play with their toys, and posture on the world stage by blowing up children - and the civil war will go on and people will continue fleeing and dying and there will be more chaos giving space to groups like ISIS and the atrocities will inspire a new generation of terrorists. Which will of course require more bombing in future. The only winners here are the people who sell bombs. I don't know what the answer to the Syrian problem is, but "more bombing" certainly isn't it.

And oddly, a US spokesperson seems to have come to some awareness of this:

Russia’s campaign in Syria will succeed no more than military solutions in Iraq or Afghanistan, press secretary Josh Earnest has told reporters in a briefing at the White House.

“Russia will not succeed in imposing a military solution any more than the United States was successful in imposing a military solution in Iraq a decade ago, and certainly any more than Russia was able to impose a military solution in Afghanistan three decades ago,” Earnest said.

Yes, the White House just called America's Glorious Military Endeavours in Iraq and Afghanistan - and by implication, the last 25 years of US foreign policy - a failure. Which is an unusually accurate assessment - but one which will no doubt result in Republicans calling for him to be prosecuted for treason or something.