On Syria and Russia: Sanity and madness

No blessing ever seems to arrive in a manner that allows it to be appreciated and lingered over. In the case of President Trump’s stated intention to soon withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, the beauty of that announcement is marred by the dangerous and ongoing insanity of the aggression of the Trump administration and NATO against Russia for defending itself against unwarranted, Western interventionist, regime-change operations in the Ukraine.

  • Syria: Well, it seems too good to be true. President Trump has said that all U.S. military forces will be leaving Syria in the near term. He has been saying such things since he sent additional troops there, but not with such firmness. Could he be starting to understand what America First means in terms of conducting a non-interventionist foreign policy? I suppose we will see, but it would certainly prompt smiles and a sigh of relief among the base of his supporters — especially among the wavering — and would get us out of there before Syria and Iraq inevitably dissolve into a savage, all-out sectarian war. There seems to have been no push-back against Trump from the Pentagon, and the strong objections from Senator Graham and the Saudi Crown Prince — two reliable anti-Americans — suggests that they genuinely fear Trump will withdraw all U.S. ground troops and air assets. Getting out of Syria might well justify a modest Independence Day parade, throw in a quick departure from Afghanistan and that would call for a large parade celebrating the saving of lives, limbs and enormous expenditures. It also would mark a great strategic success for the republic by making Sunni and Shia Muslims free to kill each other to their hearts content, and perhaps even motivating the Russians and Chinese to get more deeply involved in the coming regional catastrophe.
  • Russia: I learned to hate the Russians all through my whole life, if another war comes, it’s them we must fight, to hate them and fear them, to run and to hide, and accept it all bravely with God on my side.”[1] Bob Dylan wrote those lyrics for a song called “With God on Our Side”, published in 1963. At the height of the Cold War, Dylan’s lyrics precisely portrayed his own, my, and our classmates’ grammar school experience, which was, indeed, replete with practice air-raid sirens, scary films about the Communists, and hiding in school basements — well-stocked with surplus U.S. military rations and barrels of water — and under classroom desks. And it seems that Dylan’s analysis is more current today than I think he would like, thanks to its championing by the remaining and largely stinking detritus of my own generation’s elite — Graham, McCain, senior British Tories, the Neocons, the Israel-Firsters, the mainstream media, and the media’s Soros-paid strategic analysts — none of whom can possibly have God on their side.

It must be remembered that the grounding of the current confrontation with Russia was the successful efforts of the BBC, the EU, and Obama and Hillary to overthrow the pro-Russian Ukraine government. In response to that attack on Russia’s historical defensive periphery, Putin re-annexed Crimea, the home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. This action was completely justifiable in terms of Russia’s life-and-death national security interests — which for all nations must always trump international agreements — and likely would have been taken by any Russian ruler facing the same situation. Since that annexation, the deeply embarrassed and terminally adolescent West has sought to bring Putin and his country to daggers drawn by: (a) imposing economic sanctions on Russia because Putin did his patriotic duty in Crimea; (b) damning him and Russia for defending the West by killing much of the Islamic State that was defeating the West at home and abroad; and, now, by (c) expelling Russian diplomats on the basis of “lethal nerve gas attack” in Salisbury, England, one in which the British government said forty people were gassed but no one died; about which the area’s medical director said only three people were hurt and that there was no nerve gas involved; and for which the British government has not released a jot of evidence and has ridiculed Moscow for requesting such material. Russia is a nuclear-armed, Great Power, a nation proud of its history, and one that looks on Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence and a key to Russia’s defense. The West is playing with fire, and ought to be grateful for Putin’s patience — which will not last forever. It probably is pointless to think that Western leaders will suddenly become adults and stop seeking conflict with Russia, and so it is well to remember the last stanza of Dylan’s song: “So now as I’m leavin,’ I’m weary as Hell, The confusion I’m feelin’, Ain’t no tongue can tell, The words fill my head, And fall to the floor, If God’s on our side, He’ll stop the next war.”[2] Let us hope He saves us from the nefarious activities of the dying and so desperate and war-wanting Western elites.

It also is worth noting that Britain’s Tory government — whose prime minister, Theresa May, wants to avoid implementing the electorate’s decision that the UK leave the EU — and those of France and Germany are seeking to find a means to not only prevent the now accelerating collapse of the EU, but also to neutralize what appears to be the rising strength of populism, which is focused on each nation reclaiming its national sovereignty and a continent-wide halt to Muslim immigration before it yields civil wars in most EU states. The EU leaders, as a kind of last gasp option, are trying to frighten all Europeans by resuscitating the Cold War’s Bolshevik-menace meme at a time when Putin’s Russia is proud and defiant, but does not have an economic pot to piss in. The Europeans, with the Trump administration’s support, are running a con on all Europeans and Americans that is meant to save the EU from a thoroughly merited demise. The United States should be ashamed and called out for assisting the EU in this ignoble, war-threatening, and anti-democratic operation.


  1. Bob Dylan “With God on our side,” 1963, lyrics at https://bobdylan.com/songs/god-our-side/
  2. Ibid.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.