Washington's Choice: WWIII Or Saving Face In Syria

Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Sometimes when I step back from the overwhelming flow of geopolitical insanity I’m reminded of the old adage that coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

To which, I always add, “And nuclear war.”

I’ve been watching the build up to the operation to liberate Idlib in Syria which includes the endless neocon and Israeli moral preening warning Assad against using chemical weapons with a sense of detachment.  And I keep thinking to myself, “Do they really think we’re that stupid?”

Three times the chemical weapons canard has been used to justify further aggression against Syria and three times a full-blown U.S. invasion has been averted. First by Vladimir Putin’s deft diplomacy and General Dunford’s refusal to implement a ‘no-fly zone’ in 2013 and then during the Trump years with ineffectual air strikes on Syrian airbases.

How much of that ineffectuality of those airstrikes were designed by Defense Secretary James Mattis to avoid a wider conflagration and how much was Russian EW/missile defense is anyone’s guess.

The truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle.

That is why everyone who is worrying about the U.S.’s blustering over Syria’s Idlib campaign needs to take a big step back and think the scenario through.

Because the neoconservatives and Israel are forcing the situation to its crisis point, thinking they can manipulate the headlines and the levers of power to still eke out a victory in Syria that will allow them to continue on their quest to destroy Russia first and conquer the rest of Asia after that.

And they are willing to blackmail us with the threat of WWIII over 50,000 head-chopping mercenaries to get their cookie. 

However, when you factor in the men actually in charge of the U.S. military chain of command, Trump and Mattis, and you realize the lengths to which Mattis’ field commanders have gone to avoid direct confrontation with Russian forces, you come to the conclusion that the men who will actually fight this war the neoconservative provocateurs and laptop bombardiers are clamoring for won’t actually pull the trigger.

The reasons for this are manifest.

First, the potential for the conflict to go nuclear is too high for rational men to take that chance.  Mattis and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are hard-bitten, no-nonsense men.  Neither underestimates the other’s resolve to defend their men and national interests.

So, once the shooting starts expect it to get ugly quick.  Therefore it is unlikely to get to that point.

Second, there is no profit in that kind of escalation for the people who profit from war.  The banks and the military weapons makers thrive in low-intensity, frozen conflicts which keep sales flowing and governments indebted to pay for them.

In an age of nuclear weapons, proxy wars fought by mercenaries with drones are far more profitable than any large-scale invasions.  I hate to say this but from a discounted cash flow perspective Lockheed-Martin wants predictability to cover their quarterly dividends to shareholders more than they want to bring about the supposed Zionist plan for Greater Israel.

Sorry to burst everyone’s conspiracy theories.

Third and most importantly, the U.S. cannot afford a non-nuclear confrontation with Russia that punctures the illusion of U.S. military superiority.  Too much of the world’s confidence in the dollar itself rests in the U.S.’s ability to project power and defend its interests militarily.

This confidence is a mixture of that military capability and the U.S.’s traditional position of a country with an excellent legal framework within which to do business.  It is fashionable among geopolitical critics, myself included, to get caught up in the rhetoric and projection of a sclerotic and weakening United States, but legally it is still one of the best places on earth to do business.

But, as Martin Armstrong pointed out recently, Trump’s domestic opposition has openly declared sedition against him this week in the New York Times.  Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, is doing the talk show circuit calling for a constitutional crisis over Trump allegedly being unfit for office.  And George Soros is paying protesters to disrupt the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

If allowed to run its course to impeachment in the event of the Republicans losing control of the House in November, this would be a death blow to the U.S.’s reputation as a nation of laws rather than a nation of men.  The U.S. dollar would not recover from such a blow to its credibility, especially in light of Trump’s nearly-unhinged use of sanctions and threats of tariffs, weaponizing the dollar indiscriminately.

And this is why Vladimir Putin openly showed his hand to the world in March.  Strategically, he let everyone know that any confrontation between Russia and the U.S. would result in the U.S losing its status as the world’s pre-eminent military power.

This is why the neocons and the U.S./U.K. Deep State have been so adamant in accelerating its provocations against Russia.  They have to present us with the Faustian bargain of WWIII before Russia has these weapon systems fully deployed.

It’s also why Trump and Mattis are allowing them to have their head.  It feeds Trump’s “Art of the Deal” strategy for negotiations while also allowing him the opportunity to save face after Idlib is liberated regardless of whether another chemical weapons attack is staged.

I think we won’t see one here. 

The way out of Syria for the U.S. with its face-saved is to thunder and bluster, threaten fire and brimstone just like Trump did with Kim Jong-un and use that to explain why Assad showed restraint and didn’t use chemical weapons this time.

I can even see Trump tweeting something about three strikes and he would be out. 

Once Idlib is liberated Mattis will happily begin pulling vulnerable troops out of al-Tanf and Afghanistan.  That’s why I believe he went there to the surprise of the CIA house-organ Washington Post last week.

And then the neocon and Israeli muddying of the waters will move to the Geneva talks, but we’ll cross that Rubicon when it approaches.