Wednesday 16 November 2016

The US Election Outcome is not so bad Part 1: Syria

Well, it's been a while since last I blogged.  Not that anyone will have noticed, mind you.  I let Brexit pass without comment (others did it far better than I could), news items have come and gone, but given the current meltdown now underway about the result of the US Presidential Election, I felt that I had to comment.

So now - Donald Trump is the President Elect.  This is not necessarily as bad as it seems - not least because Hillary Clinton is not fit to run a whelk stall, let alone the world's only superpower.

So why do I say that?

Well, there are a number of reasons.  This will be a long post but I'll try to keep it interesting, and I will have to commit the sin of simplification to a degree.  For the most part, what it boils down to is war.  First and foremost, we have avoided the likelihood of war with Russia.  Which is not as crazy as it sounds.

This is...complicated, so I shall break it down a bit.


Take a look at the situation in Syria.  It's a total mess, and most of us have wondered why, and just what the hell the West (especially the US) is up to.  ISIS seem to have no trouble laying hands on arms and equipment supplied by the US, the Kurds are not supported, Russia's help seems to be resented, and there seems to be a narrative that Assad is somehow worse than ISIS.  Just how has never been explained.

Well, as ever, it comes down to oil.  And gas, of course.

See, Europe is largely dependent on Russian oil and gas.  Needless to say, the various European countries and the EU are none too keen on this.  Neither are the Americans, on account that they would rather Europe was dependent on Saudi and Qatari oil, as those countries are US allies in the Middle East.

To break this near monopoly, a pipeline has been proposed, to run from either Qatar - a US ally:

or Iran, which is allied to Russia:

Either way, the pipeline will have to run through Syria, which has its own oilfields as well.  With Assad in charge, chances are any such pipeline would be primarily supplied by Iranian oil; Russia would still have quite some sway over Europe's supply.  And Russia is not afraid of cutting off the supply to countries during conflicts in its own form of modern-day hydraulic despotism.

So, the US favours the Qatari pipeline - and needs Assad out of the way for that to happen.  They also could not afford to upset Turkey - which is why the West is failing to help the Kurds (who have long fought Turkey to establish their own homeland in Kurdistan) and Turkey is being considered for EU membership, and why Erdogan's maniacal despotism is given a free pass.

As a side note, you will notice that the Iranian pipeline will also have to pass through Turkey, albeit only slightly.  Which goes some way to explaining why Russia did nothing when Turkey shot down a Russian jet last year - that, and Turkey being a member of NATO.  Putin is far too smart to provoke a war with the NATO countries over a single fighter jet.

Anyway - for Western ambitions to succeed, Assad must fall.  ISIS, whatever their ambitions, are not a serious threat to the West and never have been; in point of fact, their geographical area of influence has shrunk considerably over the past year:

So the West is happy to let ISIS run about committing atrocity after atrocity, as every day weakens Bashar Al Assad ever further.  What the West is not happy about is Russia intervening to help Assad out.

So, in an attempt to have things their own way, the US have tried a number of things.  A ceasefire, for example, that ended in a shambles because it was not binding on some of the rebel groups, who carried on fighting - causing Putin and Assad to respond in kind.

So Hillary Clinton wanted to impose a No Fly Zone in Syria; naturally, Russia would not accept America unilaterally imposing such zones, and trouble was predicted by a great many people.  Let's face it, Hillary is not exactly Carl von Clausewitz when it comes to military strategy as the debacle in Libya will attest.  And she is not afraid of war, either; she voted for the war in Iraq, she is in favour of air strikes on Iran should that country not kowtow to US demands, she played a key role in the US strikes on Libya, and so on.

Furthermore, Hillary firmly believes that Russia and China were behind various cyberattacks on the US, including hacking into the servers of the Democratic National Congress - even though John MacAfee, who despite his being somewhat unhinged, I would be inclined to believe in this sort of thing - denies that Russia had anything to do with it.  Hillary, however, advocates a military response against Russia.

So, had Hillary been in a position to impose her no-fly zone, there is a good chance that Russian jets would be shot down as a matter of policy.  And you can guess where that would lead.

So make no mistake regarding the conflict in Syria - humanitarian factors are at the bottom of everyone's list.  This is simply a new round of The Great Game; a proxy war between America and Russia to control the supply of oil to the whole of Europe.  And that is something that both sides would be prepared to go to war over.

However, Donald Trump has made it clear from the outset that it is his intention to improve US / Russia relations, and is prepared to work with Putin on a number of matters including Syria.  Needless to say, neither NATO nor various European leaders are keen on this - although quite what the European leaders think would be the result of allowing things to continue as they are is not overly clear.

What is looking good, though, is that had Hillary Clinton been elected, we would have been looking at a very good chance of a Third World War.  That seems, at least for the present, to have been averted - certainly to those with half a brain.  Quite where the 'liberal' (was ever a philosophy so mis-named?) idea that Trump's election would be the start of WW3 comes from is anyone's guess.

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