By lara keller (last updated 1st April 2017)
Why the Syrian Revolution’s Victory is Important (5.3)
The real truth behind the inaction of most Western progressives when it comes to effectively supporting the Syrian Revolution, is that they do not see why it is important. This encourages a climate of doubt and pious exaggerated statements about neo-imperialism, spheres of influence, how many fundamentalist fighters there are, the arms industry, promoting pacifism, overinflating the potential of diplomacy, picking apart reports of atrocities, how unpopular is Assad, “whataboutism” Iraq and Libya, the hypocrisy of some of the backers of the revolution …….. all this throws up a haze that disguises the unflattering shared founding thought that “we do not see that the Syrian Revolution’s success or failure is important to us”.
The Syrian Revolution seems to be incidental to the principal concerns of most Western progressives. The decline of democracy and the decrease in civil rights justified by security threats, combined with a rise in racism and isolationism in the West. The rising inequality around the world with an elite bypassing governments to hoard vast wealth in tax havens. The largely unchallenged global threat of climate change. The exploitation of poorer countries through globalization. The 60 % of the world’s population in severe poverty (despite a recent drop in the cheaper to solve extreme poverty group due to the successful UN Millennium Development Goals initiative). The vast amount of wealth that the arms industry squanders on endless conflicts. Population growth (although the increase in the steepness of its rise is falling) and scarce resources.
So as a perfect Western progressive I would be a green pacifist anti-establishment activist, interested in lobbying international organisations to stop the economic anarchy that hurts the poor. I would be pursuing a hundred projects to raise awareness of a hundred issues. This approach yields slow results if any, and reacts to the world as it is now, rather than dealing with looming crises, that are building strength from these unsolved issues.
The global reactionary elites have solutions for all these issues. Do nothing, and use military force to secure scarce resources. This means there are countries with elites threatened by the demands for necessities by their populations that need countries willing to collaborate with them in genocidal campaigns to suppress these populations, by murder, terror or expulsion.
The genocidal war in Syria performed by the Assad regime supported by Putin’s Russia (an financially by China), against the demands of the Syrian people for representative government, is the first of many wars of this kind. Putin is positioning his regime as the ruthless war machine at the disposal of any dictator in the MENA region who is threatened by demands for representative government. There is no reason why he cannot also become the defender of authoritarian coups in countries struggling to maintain democracy. There are no great ideological illusions that Putin must respect. His services are available to any elite anywhere. The advantage for Putin is the creation of a neo-imperial system that benefits Russian and Chinese elites. Neither country tolerates progressive activists or cares much about outraged public opinion. The West is bad enough, when we think of Vietnam and Iraq, but Putin’s war machine will be much worst.
When Putin and Assad win in Syria, there will be a continued wave of repression inside Syria, with an attempt to expel or neutralise anybody who may threaten the regime’s dominance. Putin’s regime will continue forming closer military links with former West orientated authoritarian regimes in the MENA region. Putin will be emboldened by the passivity of the West in spreading authoritarian influence in Europe. Stirring sectarian tensions in the Baltic States. Supporting far-right groups in Eastern Europe, with campaigning funds and popularity boosting economic projects. All with the financial support of China.
The West is not immune from the degradation of democracy. Power over national economics has been largely removed from democratic elected governments, whose main responsibility is avoiding anything which would rock the under regulated fragile economy. Elections are won by securing the votes of the largest section of the population, with the promise of securing the economy and removing redirecting assets from the currently marginalised group. This is a prime ground for authoritarianism, and there is the Chinese Putin backed regime waiting to play a destructive role.
It matters that the appeasement of Putin and rulers like Assad stops in Syria. Their needs to be a partnership between Western progressives and the ordinary Syrian people. We need each other.