The scandals of the Trump administration have filled the news. There can be no doubt that this is a perilous time for the United States as a constitutional crisis tied deeply to Russia unfolds. Unfortunately, this became even more dangers with a new revelation of alleged treachery.
The story out today is that Michael Flynn, acting as the incoming administration’s representative, called off US support for the SDF militia fighting Da’esh (ISIS) on 10 Jan. He may have been acting more on behalf of Turkey, which reportedly paid him $500,000.
Understanding this situation and why it is so dangerous for the entire world requires some deep background. It will be difficult for the mainstream press to catch up, so it is our pleasure to provide it here.
In celebration of the first decade of Barataria in one week, I would like to present this post from 2009. It is dark, befitting the time it was written, but it is one of my personal favorites.
“The illusions which exalt us are dearer than ten thousand truths”
– Aleksandr Pushkin
Perhaps it’s the chill of December closing in on me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Pushkin lately – and this quote is a favorite. Pushkin was, like so many Russian writers, a man who found nearly carnal pleasure in staring the essence of humanity straight in the eyes and reporting what he saw in a cold, clear voice. Normally, I don’t like translations that seem florid and over-wrought, but in this case it’s Pushkin. The warmth comes in the delight of distilling the essence into poetry, as any true romantic knows. It’s a glow that warms the heart of Russian fatalism, a crackling fire that accepts with a melting smile. It also represents the exact opposite of how we, as Americans, have come to see our own world.
The US has turned inward. The nooze has become a high-caloried stream of confectionary nonsense from Washingtoon, spiced up with genuine budgetary horrors. The diversions keep coming, keeping everyone’s attention away from the real stories – possible treason and a lot of incompetence.
Meanwhile, Syria has become significantly more dangerous. In the very near future it’s reasonable that the situation will demand genuine leadership and careful negotiation. Given that this is nearly impossible, based on the narcissistic machismo which substitutes for leadership on nearly all sides, the potential for something even more horrible is rising daily.
But it’s hardly being reported at all.
The war in Syria and Iraq continues. Our press continues to report it very badly, never providing any context whatsoever. How can anyone make sense of what’s going on or the likely conquest of Da’esh/ISIS which is in the works?
This is a brief update on the situation which is strangely not provided in any other outlet. Keep in mind, however, the essential truths about the ongoing battle with Da’esh:
- They pose no significant threat to the United States.
- In fact, the entire region is largely irrelevant to the US.
- The lack of relevance is not going to stop us from blundering remarkably close to a global conflict.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at the reality of this situation which is generally ignored.
Our political system is under attack by a foreign nation.
Revelations that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server was hacked by Russians known to be working for state intelligence is only the tip of the iceberg. Like the break-in at the Watergate offices of the DNC on 17 June 1972, it appears to be part of a coordinated effort to influence the election. Unlike Watergate, it is being run by Putin’s Russia – a vast “kleptocracy” of mafia known as the “Bratva” (brotherhood) that routinely conducts similar operations around the world.
The torment continues in Syria, if anything accelerating. The conflict appears to be burning through the remaining areas of the nation creating another refugee crisis on top of the one that has already swamped neighboring nations Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Europeans are now forced to deal with it.
Into this a new combatant, Russia, has started bombing. The conflict has only intensified as a result. Where will this go?
The short answer is that there is apparently no end in sight simply because the nature of the conflict has an ability to morph as more and more of those involved have an interest in creating chaos. Syria is devolving into the kind of scorched battleground reminiscent of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, which is in itself an example of history not quite learned.
The internet is a wide, rolling river of information. It can be treacherous and dangerous to wade into if you’re not careful. If you’re looking for a cool drink of truth, the muddy brown of this mighty Mississippi of data often has a harsh stench of bias bubbling along with the waves. What can a reader thirsty for knowledge do?
The answer is to seek the source – the cool, clear stream that feeds into the torment at the headwaters. I call it the “Urquelle”, a German word meaning “original source” favored in the mountains and rolling hills that are the source of so many great rivers in Bavaria and Bohemia. This process of seeking out primary sources is valuable not just for writers, for whom primary sources have long been a staple of good, useful prose. As surely as reading is writing, today’s discerning reader should also seek the Urquelle.