In the game of power politics, appeasement always ends in tears. Once you commit to a path you have no option but to see it through to its fullest end or fold when the stakes rise beyond an acceptable level.
Vladimir Putin responded to Israel’s betrayal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the only move he could make short of touching off World War III, crossing the US/Israeli red line of giving S-300 missile defense systems to Syria and upgrading their anti-missile technology and integration to the point of creating, what The Saker is calling, “a de facto no-fly zone” over Western Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ball’s in your court Bibi and Trump.
And the response from them has been pretty much nothing. The US State Department called it a “dangerous provocation.” Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton quickly ran out and said nearly contradictory things about the US’s long-term plans in Syria.
All of it looks like panic.
Because, last week Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the stakes for Syria’s enemies by brokering a deal which precluded the invasion the US, U.K., France and Israel wanted. They thought they were in control of the situation, that they had maneuvered Russia and Syria into a no-win situation in Idlib.
The narrative had been prepared.
The White Helmets were in place along with the drums of chlorine. All that was needed was the chaos of war between the pro-Syria coalition and the head-chopping Salafist animals holed up in Idlib.
And then the unthinkable happened. Erdogan chose sides.
The whole plan unraveled quickly because without war how can the “Animal” Assad use chemical weapons against civilians? This is why the attack on Syria by those four Israeli F-16s was so sloppy. I said last week that it looked like a setup to provoke Russia into reacting emotionally and it didn’t work.
Because morons like John Bolton and the rest of the neoconservative ‘adults in the room’ make the same mistake over and over again with every one of these operations. And they never learn.
And that mistake is expecting people with vastly different cultures and experience to respond to tragic situations the same way they would. Bolton and Netanyahu expected the Russians to react the same way hyper-neurotic Israelis and Americans with their variations on Manifest Destiny as the world’s chosen people would to the deaths of 15 airmen aboard one of their planes.
They expected a hue and cry large enough to force Putin to do something stupid by pressuring him via fifth columnists within the Kremlin and Russian media. In their masturbatory fantasies they even considered Putin being overthrown because he took one too many slaps to the face.
This is what passes for analysis by the best and brightest foreign policy experts in the US
That should scare you. These people make policy.
These are the people who form the core of the Deep State ‘resistance’ to Donald Trump by yanking papers from his desk, plotting coups and handing him bad intelligence to prevent him from re-aligning US foreign policy with the shifting realities of the twenty-first century.
And their dreams of conquest ran aground against the rocks that are Russians. This is a culture that threw 20 million people at the Germans to stop their advance across the European continent 75 years ago. They have a different mindset and a different perspective on what sacrifice and suffering entails.
And for that reason, Putin’s response was measured and devastating. Israel showed no remorse, blaming the Russians themselves for the deaths of their men. That is the very definition of chutzpah. This is what psychopaths do, blame their victims by refusing to accept responsibility for anything.
Well, now, it doesn’t matter. Now the board state has been set.
If Russia’s anti-missile and electronic warfare capabilities are as good as the scuttlebutt says they are then the anti-Syrian alliance is out of moves.
Because under no circumstances can we be the aggressors here. The Chosen People tell themselves they are defending the rights of the oppressed. That narrative is all-important.
So, now the question is what comes next?
In my mind we are still looking at a path to the Grand Bargain in the Middle East I’ve been banging on about for over a year. The neocons don’t want it. The worst elements of Israeli and Saudi society don’t want this.
The US Deep State and arms dealers don’t want this.
But, it’s now on the table and, unfortunately for Netanyahu, the final deal will be a lot worse for him than it would have been had he taken Putin’s off a few months ago of Iran pulling back all assets 100 kilometers from the Israeli border.
Now, he will lose all pretense of Israeli air superiority. Now the US has to commit to proving it can overwhelm Russian forces in Syria without concomitant losses which puncture the myths of US military dominance.
As I’ve said in the past, that myth is one of the major pillars of US financial and political stability. The loss of that myth far outweighs the gains on the ground in Syria. But, unfortunately, last week’s attack proves to me the people involved don’t understand this or care about it.
Because if they did they wouldn’t have tried to go down this path.
But it’s the path we’re on now, and one of the few highlights from Trump’s UN General Assembly address was his saying something positive about the political solution to Syria. After last week’s incident he will not have much, if any leverage, in that negotiation.