Paul Craig Roberts
|Eyewitnesses saw a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria, while three fighter jets were hovering above. One journalist tweeted that three Turkish planes were responding to “mysterious” lock-ons from Mig-29 jets.
Turkey’s unprovoked shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria raises interesting questions. It seems unlikely that the Turkish government would commit an act of war against a much more powerful neighbour unless Washington had cleared the attack. Turkey’s government is not very competent, but even the incompetent know better than to put themselves into a position of facing Russia alone.
If the attack was cleared with Washington, was Obama bypassed by the neocons who control his government, or is Obama himself complicit? Clearly the neoconservatives are disturbed by the French president’s call for unity with Russia against ISIL and easily could have used their connections to Turkey to stage an event that Washington can use to prevent cooperation with Russia.
Revenge against Russia
Washington’s complicity is certainly indicated, but it is not completely out of the question that the well-placed Turks who are purchasing oil from ISIL took revenge against Russia for destroying their oil tanker investments and profitable business. But if the attack has a private or semi-private origin in connections between gangsters and military, would Turkey’s president have defended the shoot-down on such spurious grounds as “national defence”? No one can believe that one Russian jet is a threat to Turkey’s security.
Don’t expect the pro-establishment journalists to look into any such questions. The pro-government journalists, such as the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford, are spinning the story that the loss of the Russian aircraft, and earlier the airliner, proves that Putin’s policy of air strikes against ISIL has backfired as Russians are not safer.
Obama’s definition of “moderate Syrian rebels”
The responses to the shoot-down are also interesting. From what I heard of Obama’s press conference, Obama’s definition of “moderate Syrian rebels” includes all the extremist jihadish groups, such as al Nursa and ISIL, that are the focus of the Russian attacks. Only Assad is an extremist. Obama, following the neocon line, says that Assad has too much blood on his hands to be allowed to remain president of Syria.
Obama is not specific about the “blood on Assad’s hands,” but we can be. The blood is the blood of ISIL forces fighting the Syrian army. Obama doesn’t refer to the blood on ISIL’s hands, but even the pro-establishment journalists have told us the horror stories associated with the blood on ISIL’s hands, with whom Obama has allied us.
Very large quantity of blood
And what about the blood on Obama’s hands? Here we are talking about a very large quantity of blood: the blood of entire countries—Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and the blood that Obama’s puppet government in Kiev has spilled of the ethnic Russian inhabitants of Ukraine, not to forget the Palestinian blood spilled by Israel using US supplied weapons.
If the blood on Assad’s hands disqualifies Assad from office, the much greater quantity on Obama’s hands disqualifies Obama. And Cameron. And Hollande. And Merkel. And Netanyahu.
Throughout the entire Washington orchestrated conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine, the Russian government has spoken reasonably and responded in a diplomatic manner to the many provocations. The Russian government relied on European governments realizing that Europe does not benefit from conflicts generated by Washington and separating themselves from a policy that is against their interests. But Europe proved to be a collection of American vassals, not independent countries capable of independent foreign policies.
In its campaign against ISIL in Syria, the Russian government relied on the agreement made with NATO countries to avoid engaging in the air. Now Turkey has violated this agreement.
I will be surprised if the Russian government any longer places any trust in the words of the West and any hope in diplomacy with the West. By now the Russian government and the Russian people will have learned that the Wolfowitz doctrine means what it says and is in force against Russia.
From the Ukrainian attack on Crimea’s power supply and the blackout that is affecting Crimea, the Russian government has also learned that Washington’s puppet government in Kiev intends further conflict with Russia.
Washington has made it clear from the beginning that Washington’s focus is on overthrowing Assad, not ISIL. Despite the alleged attack on France by ISIL, the US State Department press spokesperson, Admiral John Kirby, said that Russia cannot be a member of the coalition against ISIL until Russia stops propping up Assad.
To the extent that the shoot-down of the Russian military aircraft has a silver lining, the incident has likely saved the Russian government from a coalition in which Russia would have lost control of its war against ISIL and would have had to accept the defeat of Assad’s removal.
Each step along the way the Russian government has held strong cards that it did not play, trusting instead to diplomacy. Diplomacy has now proven to be a dead-end. If Russia does not join the real game and begin to play its strong cards, Russia will be defeated.
[Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.]