[Marxism] Fwd: The left can oppose Russian intervention in Syria without capitulating to our own rulers | REDFLAG

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 14 18:58:05 MDT 2015

The response to all of this by some on the Western left has been 
dreadful. For some bizarre reason, while the cynical and imperialist 
manoeuvres of the Western powers are, rightly, denounced, Putin gets a 
get-out-of-jail-free card.

This takes several forms. For starters, there is the straightforward 
pro-Putin propaganda. Socialist Unity in Britain blares, in a triumphant 
Islamophobic stupor, “The barbarians are at the gates and Russia alone 
is heeding the call to intervene in order to save not just the Syrian 
government or Syria, but civilisation itself”.

The nominally left wing US website Counterpunch has an article by Mike 
Whitney, which proclaims: “That’s how you fight terrorism if you’re 
serious about it. Bravo, Putin”.

Neglected is the fact that most of the people brutally murdered by 
Russian bombs so far have been conspicuously not-ISIS. Indeed, they have 
been people fighting against ISIS. But then, I guess Russia has to warm 
up first before it can hit its targets. Or perhaps destroying all 
opposition to ISIS is all part of a master plan. ISIS will be 
overconfident, and that’s when Putin will ride in naked on a bear and 
save the day.

Another set of arguments is tied to the notion that, even if Putin is in 
it for his own cynical gain, somehow Russia being involved will just 
magically make the situation better. Because if there’s anything that 
makes people’s lives better, it’s more bombs and missiles.

Patrick Cockburn, whose writings on the Middle East have been widely 
circulated on the left, argued: “The US-Soviet Cold War, and the global 
competition that went with it, had benefits for much of the world. Both 
superpowers sought to support their own allies and prevent political 
vacuums from developing which its opposite number might exploit”. I 
suspect this statement might raise a few eyebrows in Vietnam, among many 
other places.

Political cartoonist Carlos Latuff, well known for his pro-Palestinian 
cartoons, defended Russia by saying that at least it doesn’t want regime 
change in Syria. Well, no, it doesn’t. It wants to kill many people to 
allow a murderous tyrant to remain in power so Russia can continue 
exercising influence in the region. That’s not a positive thing. You’d 
think this didn’t need to be spelled out.

Finally, there’s the variety of responses which only want to focus on 
Western intervention. They may be shocked to find that one can indeed 
walk and chew gum at the same time.

Green Left Weekly takes this to its logical conclusion by not mentioning 
Russia’s involvement in Syria at all. Those wanting to understand the 
events in Syria will likely leave the website scratching their heads.


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