In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Reporter Sharmine Narwani on the secret history of America’s defeat in Syria

Posted by seumasach on April 30, 2019

“The U.S. was already exiting the Middle East before the so-called “Arab uprisings” kicked off. Whoever in the U.S. national security apparatus made the decision to stick around and redirect these uprisings against regional adversaries made a colossal mistake. I want to write about this one day because it’s important. I believe the Syrian conflict constitutes the main battlefield in a kind of World War III. The world wars were, in essence, great-power wars, after which the global order reshuffled a bit and new global institutions were established.

Look around you now. We have had a reshuffle in the balance of power in recent years, with Russia, China, Iran in ascendance and Europe and North America in decline. That’s not to say that Washington, London or Paris don’t have levers left to pull: They do. But it is on the back of the Syrian conflict that a great-power battle was fought, and in its wake, new international institutions for finance, defense and policymaking have been born or transformed.

I’m not just talking about the strengthening of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa], the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Union, etc. I mean the world’s networks are shifting hands, too. What will happen to Western-controlled shipping routes now that Asia has started to build faster, cheaper land routes? Will the SWIFT [bank messaging] system survive when an alternative is agreed upon to bypass U.S. sanctions everywhere? There are so many examples of these shifts. It’s not to say that they are due to events in Syria, but rather that Syria triggered the great-power battle that unleashed the potential of this new order much more quickly and efficiently.

Keep in mind that World War III was never going to be like the other two conventionally fought wars…. It was always going to be an irregular war that would escalate on multiple fronts — not just regime change events, but financial pressures, sanctions, propaganda, political subversion activities, destabilization, increased terrorism, proxy fights and so on. The battle for global hegemony really began to unfold over Syria, though, when the Russians, Iranians and Chinese decided to draw a line and put up a fight. The world changed after that.”

Interview with Patrick Lawrence

Salon

21st April ,2019

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