In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Cameron’s conversion on the road to Damascus

Posted by seumasach on May 13, 2013

Cailean Bochanan

13th May, 2013

The Russian position on Syria remains exactly what it always has been but our prime minister, David Cameron is suddenly “heartened” by it.

“British sources say a great deal of work remains to be done and that Russia is far from abandoning support for the Al Assad regime. But the prime minister has high hopes for the peace conference which is designed to involve Syrian rebels and representatives of the Al Assad government.”

Cameron has had a lightening conversion to the idea of talks with the Al Assad government , the same one he has strenuously been trying to overthrow for some time now. We should rejoice that he has seen the light or, rather, seen that there is no light at the end of the tunnel of the unipolar world project. Having sought to surround himself with Churchillian aura at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher he can now demonstrate his understanding of the Churchillian maxim that “politics is the art of the possible”. In doing so he follows in the wake of Obama who has already grasped that the regime change project in Syria, to say nothing of Iran, Russia and China, has no mileage. And for a while Britain, uncharacteristically, seemed to be intent on going it alone with many inept and hot-headed comments emanating from the foreign secretary, William Hague. but now we have, as I say, seen the light and are singing off the same hymn-sheet as the Americans.
This is not just any old policy change but a fundamental and historic shift and as such is fraught with dangers. Certain lobbies, certain elements within the deep and dark recesses of the imperial state will react to an outbreak of peace which could undermine their interests and normal modus operandi. We saw a similar dynamic during the Irish peace process in the nineties when the Irish republican movement was brought in from the cold. Here it is the legitimate government of Syria and behind them Russia who are to be embraced. Russia has truly emerged as a central pillar of the new multipolar world order and it is welcome to see that we are entering into a warm and collaborative relationship with them.
The Syrian peace conference represents the chance of a new beginning, of a multilevel peace process, opening up the possibility of resolving the Palestinian question and , ultimately, a global peace process. This process is both the end of empire and the emergence of the new structures of governance of the post-imperial world. It will, if the Irish process is anything to go by,  be long and torturous. In abandoning our hegemonic pretensions we will seek a series of quid pro quos which will alleviate our distressed economic position and facilitate a relatively soft-landing. Cameron has already begun this by obtaining concessions for British oil interests while negotiating away our support for the Syrian “rebels”. In fact, Cameron with his effortless double-speak and impeccable City of London credentials may be the ideal man to shore up the home front while he “sells out” to the Russians, Chinese et al.
We must prepare for an entirely new political dynamic to emerge. The post-Cold War, post Wolfowitz memorandum saw the burdgeoning power of the unnaccountable state: the think tanks, the lobbies, the Murdoch state within a state- the deep state. In the post-unipolar world we can expect the sovereign state to come to the fore. Already, in the whole period from the Benghazi bombings we have seen the return of the FBI and the federal government whilst Homeland Security is nowhere in sight. This will be strangely unfamilar in the Anglo-Saxon world where democracy is defined as a movement within civil society, against the state, as epitomised in the leftist world-view, rather than as a sovereignist movement. Syria is showing the way here too where precisely such a sovereignist popular movement has defeated our own machinations to create a “state of nature” anarchy.
A new political dynamic means new opportunities for those who have long striven, largely in vain, against a corporate agenda which is in the end inextricably linked to the imperial one. As the imperialists retreat on the Syrian front they will also retreat on their various sinister domestic and environmental agendas. Democracy may become a reality and the term “activist” may shed its defunct ideological, even CIA connotations acquired in the recent period and return to signify the engaged citizen.

3 Responses to “Cameron’s conversion on the road to Damascus”

  1. Sukant said

    Good article, brother. I pretty much made similar analysis on Press TV tonight. All the best.

  2. great article Cailean. As you indicated, it will be far from smooth on the road ahead but it is nonetheless a ground breaking turn of events

  3. Another thing that must really hearten Cameron,

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