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The news that the Russian military is set to intervene in the Syrian civil war will split the Western commentariat into two competing factions, only one of which will base itself in reason and a firm understanding of Near-Eastern geopolitics.
That force, the force of reason, will welcome the news with clasping hands and a full-throated cheer. At last, they (we) shall exclaim, the Russians are going to act where the West has failed to, and in doing so bring to an early close the most nightmarish act of the developing millennial epic.
The other force, that of conformity and unreason, will bemoan the collapse of international order, a cynical and world-historic victory for dictatorship over democracy, and the remanufacture of 20th century darkness.
David Cameron, who regrettably remains the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will be a leading voice in the second cacophony. For many months now, Mr Cameron has pursued a quite dazzling campaign of defamation against the well-established reality of the Syrian civil-war. According to Mr Cameron’s private logic, Bashar Al-Assad is the ‘leading cause of terrorism’ in the Middle East, and his crumbling, half-dead regime poses a superior threat to the West than does ISIS.
There are drugs for this kind of thinking. It is nothing more glamorous than a delusion to claim that an economically barren nationalist state withholds the potential for greater bloodshed than the self-described germ of a global Islamic caliphate. It is madness, in fact. It is a protest against things as they are.
Of course I don’t believe for one moment that Cameron is actually that unstable. He is rather conforming to a Western line set many years ago in Washington. This line, now only expressible with a red face, considered the Jihadist rebels as moderates and freedom fighters. Indeed, many of the fighters currently gang-raping infidel women, beheading infidel men, and exploding priceless antiquities were initially touted as possible allies in the struggle for a reformed – even liberalised – Syria.
Fortunately for the world, Russia has no time for such delusions. The Russian military base at Latakia, one of the very few warm-water ports available to the Russian Navy, is high on the ISIS target-list. For Putin to have sat back and waited for the Caliphate to arrive was never really on the cards; thus the current intervention.
Given the scale of the reported deployment (and the heavy equipment being prepared), it is unlikely that Russia will be launching a nicey-nicey or ‘surgical’ operation against the barbarians. In fact, if the brutal example of Putin’s war in Chechnya is anything to go by, ISIS are in for a very rough ride indeed. And that’s music to my ears, it really is. ISIS deserve every bullet, bomb and warhead coming to them.
As for the West, and all its inevitable protest against this intervention, we must make our leaders understand that Russia is only doing what we said we would do, but haven’t yet found the guts for. Despite his cynical meddling in Ukraine and the Baltic, it is in our interests that Putin devotes his energies to issues like Syria. It is the biggest fight of our era, the fight for Western civilisation itself. And as far as that war is concerned, Europe and Russia will either hang together or hang separately.