Sunday, September 18, 2016

"The center cannot hold"

That is the most famous line of W.B. Yeat's poem, The Second Coming, written in 1919 to express the apocalyptic atmosphere of post World War I Europe.  Whether or not the center can hold is a major question today, as governments worldwide topple or become alarmingly unstable.  Judging by the unfolding relationship between the U.S. and Russia, the question may have just become more urgent for the U.S..  Conspiracy theorists, though they might not like admitting it, find solace in the idea that humankind’s affairs are guided by a unified group, however nefarious.  Suddenly, though, the World War III fought by proxy that America is leading in Syria seems to have no center, seems not to be following the dictates of a unified conspiracy.  

Russia and the U.S. meet regularly, as they did last week, to put on a display of seeking peace.  These meetings represent conspiracy in that neither government is actually seeking peace, but rather is working to involve its population in the Syrian civil war, as shown by the uptick in violence that accompanies each meeting.  Where the center seems not to be holding is in the squabbling and finger-pointing after the collapse of last week's Russian/U.S. plan to bring food and medical supplies to two million civilians trapped by warring factions in the Syrian city of Aleppo.  

That plan depended on Syrian leader Assad's cooperation.  Any hope for that cooperation vanished on 9/17 when warplanes from the U.S.-led Coalition bombed Syrian troops, killing up to 62.  The U.S. admitted it was bombing in the vicinity of the troops, but claimed it was aiming at ISIS troops nearby (  The U.S. later claimed Russia did the bombing, and Russia claimed the U.S. did it.  Ultimately the U.S. admitted it had done the bombing, though accidentally (the raid lasted two hours).

Russia further claimed that, since the targeted Syrian troops were fighting ISIS, the U.S. was supporting ISIS (  

Two days later the Syrians bombed the first relief convoy and the agreement collapsed.  
The mainstream media (MSM) was interesting to follow through this period.  The story of the U.S.-led Coalition attack on Syrian troops was reported in America for one day only, and there was no subsequent examination of the attack's role in ending the truce.  The MSM made use of apparent jihadist attacks in New York and Minnesota, which occurred at the same time, to blend the attack on Assad's troops into invisibility.  The American public, overwhelmed with threat-data, never noticed the underplayed story.  This is a striking example of passive, state mediated mind-control.  No one anywhere is attributing the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Aleppo to the U.S. bombing of Syrian troops.  Test this out for yourself.  Ask people around you:  Why did the truce in Aleppo collapse?  You will hear a variety of answers, but you won't hear, "The truce collapsed because the U.S.-led Coalition bombed Syrian forces just after the truce was signed."  

Back to the center not holding, an odd wrinkle comes from Russia's charge that, in attacking Syrian troops, America was supporting ISIS.  In the atmosphere of Donald Trump's claim last week that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration created ISIS, it seems unlikely that in its private talks with Russia the U.S. would have agreed to act in a way that Russia could spin as support for ISIS.  It seems instead that the Russians ad libbed that part.  The problem presented for the U.S. is that under the Bush and Obama administrations, the U.S. did create ISIS.  In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which resulted in chaos and the potential collapse of Iraq, the Bush administration installed, and the Obama administration continued to support, Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister of Iraq. Maliki launched genocidal attacks against Sunnis, creating the hatred that incubated ISIS.  In effect he introduced the Sunni warriors to America.  These war-driven young men could have fought each other for centuries without our having to worry about them.  Now, thanks largely to Bush, Obama, and H. Clinton, they identify America as the enemy.  This is what we call "defense" (for a thorough account, read "Why we stuck with Maliki- and lost Iraq," by Ali Khedery, former special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors and senior adviser to three heads of U.S. Central Command, at

Russia, then, was acting for its own benefit in accusing the U.S. of supporting ISIS, possibly to generate political fallout affecting the U.S. presidential election. When the cabals making up a conspiracy start to duke it out with each other, then the center is not holding.  That, by the way, is not a good thing, since, as the aftermath of Iraq without Saddam Hussein showed (and as Syria with a weakened Assad is showing now) it's often better to have some sort of center, even a flawed one, than none.

Postscript, 9/21, Perhaps Lebanon's Annahar newspaper sums it up best (reported by the BBC at "It is clear now that the confusing ceasefire agreements in Syria are more dangerous than the battles themselves."  Meanwhile, today's L.A. Times reported not one word about the U.S. role in ending the truce, nor did the network evening news.  We are being instructed to forget a fact.

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