It has been a dozen years since the Americans (with us in tow) set out to introduce democracy in the Middle East. Twelve being a round number in the non-metric Anglophone world, it’s time to draw up the interim tally of what this noble expedition has achieved:
A death toll of at least 2,000,000. Some will say it’s a fair price to pay for democracy. Others will argue that this mass slaughter is then a fraud: the product paid for was never delivered.
Injecting passion into the Islamic world and making it universally committed to jihad.
Getting rid of tyrants who alone managed to keep a lid on said passions and prevent the region from sinking into a blood-soaked chaos, which it has since done.
Creating ISIS, a well-armed, well-financed and well-trained gang, at present 250,000-strong and growing fast.
Having Europe inundated with masses of migrants of whom some have a good reason, and most a good pretext, to move to sunnier economic climes.
Turning to Iran for assistance. Lifting, as a fair price for it, the economic sanctions, thereby giving the ayatollahs new billions to spend on global trouble-making. More crucially, in effect giving Iran a cart blanche to develop nuclear weapons.
Glorious achievements all, but one takes the baklava: inviting Putin’s kleptofascist regime to become a powerful, potentially dominant, force in the Middle East.
Western observers, even those who lament this last achievement, don’t think it as towering as the others. In fact, however, it may well shift the strategic balance in Europe towards its most evil regime.
Back in the 19th century, when Russia was infinitely more benign than she is now, Britain and her allies fought the Empire’s southward expansion several times, in the Balkans, the Black Sea and Central Asia.
In the 20th century it was understood that Western bases south of Russia would have a restraining effect on Soviet ambitions, in the Middle East and elsewhere, while Soviet bases there would present a strategic danger to Western interests in many areas, including Europe.
In 1940 Britain used the RAF base at Mosul to prevent Russia from occupying Finland at the end of the Winter War. The threat was simple and direct: stop or we’ll take out the Baku oil fields, then the principal source of Russia’s hydrocarbons.
Russia, on the other hand, perfected the strategy of establishing military bases in a region and then using them as the spearheads of conquest. That’s how the three Baltic republics were incorporated into the Soviet Union: Soviet bases came first, invasion second.
Putin seems to have learned the lessons taught by his role model Stalin. Faced with the West’s meek but still annoying opposition to Russia’s attack on the Ukraine, he decided to check the offensive and get entrenched in the parts already occupied.
To that end, Russia is busily creating in Eastern Ukraine and Kaliningrad a network of heavily armed bases. At the same time, Putin has issued an ultimatum to Belarus to accept Russian air force bases on her territory.
Hence Belarus may be next in line for Russia’s bases-first-conquest-second treatment, but Syria may just beat her to it. Russia has established several bases there, filling them to the brim with jets, tanks, artillery and soldiers.
Although no official agreement has been published, it’s clear that America has struck a Faustian deal with Putin, selling her soul (and commitment to sanctions against Russia) for the chance to leave the Middle East with a portion of her face intact.
Putin is all too happy to pose as the intrepid fighter for Christian interests (as represented by the KGB junta he fronts) against the Islamic threat (as represented by ISIS) – and, revoltingly, the West plays along.
Meanwhile confusion reigns. ISIS threatens Assad, who has always been Russia’s client. Hence for Putin stopping ISIS also means defending Assad.
On the other hand the West, while wanting to stop ISIS, also wishes to get rid of Assad. Fair is fair: what’s sauce for the Saddam goose is also sauce for the gander of his ideological Ba’athist twin.
In fact, before ISIS acquired its name Dave was ready to commit British troops on its side, and only a last-ditch stand by Parliament prevented that criminal idiocy.
Now John Kerry hypocritically objects to Russia’s military build-up in Syria because it may lead to clashes with Western forces there, presumably as they leave. “These actions could provoke a further escalation of the conflict,” declares Kerry, conveniently forgetting that it was America that invited Putin in.
Even more hypocritically, or else ignorantly, Kerry allows that Putin might only want to safeguard Russia’s naval base at Taurus, her sole foothold on the Mediterranean.
Yes, and Stalin only attacked Finland because he wanted to safeguard Leningrad, occupied the Baltics to safeguard Russia’s western borders and raped Poland to safeguard her Ukrainian and Byelorussian minorities.
Chalk this up as the West’s crowning achievement: Putin is on the way to becoming the principal Middle Eastern warlord. Our leaders should be pleased with themselves. Twelve years well spent.