Noah denkt™ - The Power of Balanced Reasoning

    Noah denkt™ - The Power of Balanced Reasoning
What an inglorious mess!
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on Russia’s intervention in Syria, drafted and published on Oct. 1, 2015

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): On Sept. 30, 2015 Russia officially intervened militarily in Syria to
conduct its own air campaign against what it perceives to be terrorist cells. President Putin went out of his way
in the last days to describe the need to stop ISIS terrorism from spreading.
The New York Times, however,
reports today (Oct. 1) that Russia’s bombs seem to target just as much if not as a matter of priority the US
backed Syrian opposition instead of ISIS terrorists.  So if we recap the current situation in the Syrian theater,
we can very well argue that the mess is complete which has been created there: Pro-Western rebels that are
being armed by the CIA fight the Assad regime. The Assad regime is fighting against both pro-Western
insurgents and ISIS or Al-Nusra terrorists who are vying to set up a fundamentalist Sunni theocracy in the
region. To achieve its goal of self-preservation, the Assad regime is using the army’s heavy weaponry also
against the civilian population. Additionally, it is soliciting and receiving important help from Hezbollah and
Iranian Al-Quds forces who are eager to defend their Shia brethren against Sunni fundamentalists. On the
other side, US, French and Jordanian fighter jets are conducting an air campaign in Syria and Iraq against ISIS
positions while counting in no small degree on Kurdish Peshmerga to support that air campaign with military
operations on the ground. The Kurds, on the other hand, are torn into this conflict not only by their desire to
fight the ISIS terrorist but also to increase the chances to eventually win their own independent statehood. The
latter however has led Turkey to intervene in Syria claiming to fight ISIS terrorism while really hitting PKK
targets in the region. Add to that the Iran nuclear issue, the strategic Iran-Saudi rivalry for predominance in the
region, the impossible refugee crisis in Lebanon, Turkey and Europe,
the Ukraine standoff and now Russia’s
military involvement in Syria and you have the most complete geopolitical chaos we can remember in our
lifetime. Is it fair to say then that
your hands-off approach in Syria which has by and large been shared by the
Obama administration has utterly and completely failed?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): It may look like that but we are still not convinced that the US would have done
itself a great service mounting a massive ground campaign in Iraq and Syria. There would have been a serious
mess in Syria in any case. In fact, we would argue that being in a great mess is the sign of our times and that it
isn’t just in Syria where you can find a conundrum of mind-boggling proportions. Just look at the high-stakes,
“damned if you do /damned if you don’t do” dilemma
the US Federal Reserve finds itself in at this point; or look
at the Euro currency mess in general, but most strikingly at Tsipras’ incomprehensible twists and turns; look at
the fractured political landscape in Spain and in particularly in Catalonia’s “independence” vote, look at
state of credibility of France’s main political parties. Take into account Germany’s overwhelming asylum seeker
chaos, look at
the hopelessly unresolved Ukraine conflict. And if that is not enough look at the never ending
Berlin Airport construction, the inexplicable algorithm driven flash crashes,
the weird Trump show and not the
the impossible situation we are living in personally. Granted, the mess in Syria may well beat all the other
disarrays we have listed here. But it is mistake to view all of them as isolated cases. And it is outright foolish to
believe that another US president or
another grand strategy could have effectively avoided chaos and
stabilized the situation in the Middle East.

AE: Well, may be another more forceful approach by the US in Syria and Iraq would not have stabilized the
situation. But perhaps it would have calmed it down.

Nd: Iraq was never really calmed down, even during the massive US presence there. Neither was Afghanistan,
neither was Lebanon nor the Israeli-Palastinian conflict. And the odds aren’t terribly high that yet another
ground force intervention would have done the trick. The sad truth simply is, that we all, leaders and average
human beings alike,
have to find extra resilience and equanimity to deal with the impossible complexity that the
cultural effects of technological advances are creating for us.

AE: But what does that mean in practice for the new situation that has developed in Syria after the Russian
military intervention.

Nd: Well, if we were intimately involved in the meetings with Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Putin, we could probably answer
this question in a better way. But we aren’t so we have to say this from afar: The answer may well be to give up
the opposition against Assad. Clearly the ongoing conflict in Syria has demonstrated that the non-extremist, so-
called pro-Western opposition in Syria could not gather enough momentum behind its cause to topple the
Assad regime. Should that not help us to understand that it wasn’t meant for them to be the new rulers in Syria?

AE: The US position towards the immediate removal of Assad has already softened. At this point, it appears as
if the West could stomach a continued presence of Assad in Syrian politics at least for an ill-defined
transitionary period. Still, that softening hasn’t made many inroads yet into the Russian position.

Nd: We are sure it eventually will. The harder job will be though to convince the US public of the need to at
least slightly change horses in Syria.  And hopefully prudence will prevail here over idealism and national pride.
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Russia's air campaign in Syria, the geopolitical mess in Syria,grand strategy in
the MIddle East, grand strategy in Syria, options of US policy in Syria, chaos as
the sign of modern times, chaos as the hallmark of modern geopolitics  
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