The United States has officially told the Syrian government to immediately suspend its diplomatic and consular missions in the country, and ordered its diplomats to leave the country if they are not US citizens.
“We have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” US special envoy for Syria, Daniel Rubinstein, said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The move is suspected by many to be in retaliation for the permanent reversal of fortunes for US-backed militants operating inside of Syria, and perhaps the prelude to an act of Western aggression in response to other geopolitical loses elsewhere, including Crimea.
West Arrives at a Dangerous Turning Point
It was a turbulent week for Western hegemons. First the teetering regime they thrust into power in Kiev, Ukraine was exposed globally as led by armed Neo-Nazis. Next, the people of Crimea fled en masse via a referendum that overwhelming chose for the strategic peninsula to join with Russia rather than be left subjected to the Western-backed fascists occupying Kiev.
The West’s response was impotent sanctions quickly brushed off by both the Russians and Ukrainians they targeted, with military posturing by both NATO and their new regime in Kiev also appearing feckless and altogether desperate.
And finally, in Syria, a complete reversal of fortunes for the Western-orchestrated bloodbath, now in its third year, culminated in Syrian forces retaking the pivotal city of Yabroud, northwest of Damascus and very near the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The retaking of Yabroud seemed perhaps a greater symbolic victory than a strategic one – and strategically, it was a very important victory. It is yet another step in stemming the flow of foreign militants, weapons, and cash into Syria, effectively isolating militants within the country to be sweep away by the Syrian Arab Army. Symbolically, it represents the irreversible momentum gained by the Syrian government and its security forces in retaking the country and restoring order within and along its borders.
In light of this reversal, one that has been ongoing since the beginning of 2013, Saudi Arabia has now apparently abandoned or at the least reduced its extraterritorial involvement in Syria, meaning Western attempts to geopolitically and economically reorder Syria while stripping neighboring Iran and Lebanon of an important ally have been all but effectively ended.
For the West, who has enjoyed global hegemony for so long, the slipping away of its power and prestige – all based on the illusion of its strength – leaves the world facing a dangerously desperate entity willing to do anything to reestablish that illusion. The sitting heads of state across the West, including, and perhaps most symbolically, US President Barack Obama, endlessly creating “red lines” the world boldly walks across exemplifies just how diminished that illusion is.
An example must be made, and with the expulsion of Syrian diplomats from the US, that example may be Syria.
Striking Syria Will Be the Ultimate Act of Weakness
The habit of empires striking out elsewhere when their ambitions are confounded by insurmountable obstacles is a long-standing historical tradition. For America – during the Vietnam War, confounded by a conflict they could not win, the US proceeded to bomb neighboring Cambodia in 1970, killing over 10,000 people and accomplishing little else. Drone strikes claiming mostly civilians and “suspected terrorists” in Pakistan are a symptom of America’s growing impotence and impending withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan.
And now, with Crimea safely departed from the unelected, Western-backed regime in Kiev, with the Crimeans standing in defiance with Russia, and Syria’s government still headed by President Bashar al-Assad – the West is left with a choice. To either concede that it has lost its global primacy, or to lash out elsewhere to prove it is still a force to be reckoned with.
The problem however becomes, should it lash out, it still concedes it has lost its global primacy, and is resorting to smoke and mirrors to continue convincing the world that it is in control.
For the Syrians – the most likely target of this act of spite – they are now just seeing the light at the end of a 3 year long tunnel of bloodshed and destruction. For the West to strike now, in effect further perpetuating the conflict or turning it back in favor of the foreign militants that have been conducting it on the West’s behalf since 2011, would be an unforgivable crime against humanity.
The West’s foreign policy has become impulsive, illogical, and appears to move from one ill-conceived machination to another, with each one further undermining the West’s own credibility and legitimacy as well as its overall political, economic, and strategic stability. It is the sort of reckless, self-destructive snowballing effect seen during the decline of the Roman Empire.
And like the Roman Empire, the West stands to take many with it as spite, impulses, and insatiable greed continue to drive it downward. For more sensible policy makers in the West, now would be a good time to consider another option – one of accommodation and acceptance of a multipolar world in which the nations of the West could still function and indeed thrive, if only they can accept the resignation of their self-assumed primacy over all others. An attack on Syria, or any other nation for that matter, will only accelerate, not arrest the fall of the West – that they seem oblivious to this glaring reality is another indicator that they have altogether lost their footing upon logic and reason.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”