U.S.’s Defeat in Syria is a Crisis of Empire

The U.S. lost in Syria. Donald Trump finally had the courage to admit that to the world when he ordered the pull out of all U.S. troops there.

Syria was to be the sparkling jewel in the Empire of Chaos’ Crown. A masterstroke of realpolitik which would advance every major U.S., Israeli and Saudi objective while thoroughly destabilizing the Levant and setting the stage for wiping out Iran and eventually Russia.

If the Assad government fell Syria would become something worse than Libya. It would become a source of abject chaos for decades to come. And the formation of greater Kurdistan would put advanced U.S. and Israeli military assets on Iran’s doorstep.

Carving up Syria, Iraq and possibly even Turkey, once Erdogan was removed from power, would put the U.S. and Israel in control of the oil assets to fund a jihadist-led insurgency across all of central Asia.

Moreover, the chaos would ensure a steady stream of refugees into Europe to destabilize it. That chaos would lead to further political integration of Europe under EU control.

You can see the remnants of this plan all around you today. In fact, a great deal of it is still on auto-pilot. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron’s tag-team calls for ceding national sovereignty to the EU are a perfect example of this.

They can all feel the project slipping away from them. Despite their failing political power they are pushing their legislatures to ignore the people, calling them traitors.

Orwell would be proud of Macron for saying, ““patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason.”

The generals Trump just fired over his decision are another example. They still believe they can win a balkanization of Syria and Iraq. They just need more assets and more time.

Israel’s childish and disgusting antics sending missiles at the Damascus airport using civilians as human shields is the most damning.

If you look around the game board right now all of the people who were the architects of the Syrian war are either out of power or losing it rapidly — Hillary Clinton, Obama, Merkel, Macron, Netanyahu, David Cameron.

Russian Rescue

This is why Russia’s entrance into Syria was so important. It was a moment the entire geopolitical narrative turned. Someone stood up to the U.S. successfully.

Institutional confidence is based on the perception of invulnerability. And Putin moving air assets into Syria to assist the Syrian Arab Army was a declaration that Russia had reached its limit, just like with Crimea, with U.S. meddling in its long-term goals.

Remember, in 2015 the narrative was ISIS just sprang up out of the desert. And they would need a full invasion to defeat.

Then the Russians send in some 30 planes and change everything about the conflict within six weeks.

All of a sudden ISIS was beatable. All the U.S. could do was attack Putin for going after Al-Qaeda, not ISIS.

But, why were we protecting Al-Qaeda? Didn’t they blow up the Twin Towers?

Trump will never admit this in public but in some ways he does owe his election to Putin. By forcing open the truth, Putin set the stage to blow up the Syria narrative in late 2015/early 2016.

Trump used that to catapult himself to the Presidency. And that is truly what has everyone in The Swamp angry; the reality that the rubes aren’t buying their lies anymore.

And the wars need to end.

As the losses for Al-Qaeda and ISIS mounted thanks to a Russian air campaign they will write military logistics textbooks about, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all got cold feet.

The Russian intervention prompted the Saudi King to change the line of succession as it became obvious they would never get their spoils from Syria — a gas pipeline into Turkey.

Turkey quit the moment Erdogan realized he was being set up to take the blame for the entire mess. After all, he and his son were selling the oil ISIS was smuggling in plain sight across the Syrian desert to Turkey.

And somehow an all-powerful U.S. military and surveillance system which can read license plates from space couldn’t find convoys of Toyota pickup trucks ferrying tons of oil to Turkey.

Imperial Retreat

Once someone stands up to the Empire successfully once it creates the opportunity for someone to do it again. Putin’s interventions in Syria, both in 2013 diplomatically and in 2015 militarily, told the world Russia was no longer afraid of the U.S.’s ability to project power around the world.

And that’s what truly changed the narrative. And that’s why we’re where we are today with Trump rightly acknowledging the Empire is bankrupting not only the U.S. but, truly, the rest of the world.

His challenge will be surviving the backlash from the entrenched powers in D.C. and Europe. They will push for his head, literally and figuratively.

By declaring victory over ISIS and leaving Syria Trump puts a period on the end of a shameful period of U.S. history. And the loss to the empire will not be easily overcome.

Syria represented the worst kind of imperial over reach. And in some ways it was a quagmire the U.S. and its allies could never win because the assets needed to take it were never available.

And those assets were political. The appetite for endless war had been spent with Obama’s election, no less Trump’s. So, absent a casus belli which could make Americans feel good about intervening in Syria, we were never going to give either President the mandate for a full-blown NATO intervention.

The only question surrounding it in hindsight was whether those that stood to lose the most — Russia, Iran, Lebanon — would stand together and convince China to support them in saving Syria, and, by extension, themselves.

Once it became clear that they would, with Russia’s intervention and China’s tacit approval and financial support, the end was then written in the sand, as long as they would keep their eyes on the big prize.

Winning by surviving. Syria was a war of attrition in which the pro-Syria coalition, step-by-step, made U.S. occupation more untenable. Eventually, that plus deft diplomatic maneuvers to advance a political solution led to this point.

This loss will beget others. Unbridled U.S. aggression has successfully been countered with mostly passive resistance. Afghanistan and Ukraine are on deck.


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50 thoughts on “U.S.’s Defeat in Syria is a Crisis of Empire

  1. It bears repeating over and over! Putin has memorized the classic book that has been in print since about 400 B.C. “The Art of War”. First rule of the Art of War is do not go to war if at all possible. (Especially far away, and in conflicted situations, my take.)
    Why the Obama morons, Victoria Nuland, with all the false flags and cash could not suck Putin into a big conflict in Ukraine, so he stood back on the border and let the U.S. backed idiots flail and now fail.

    Mattis departure is well reviewed by Dave Stockman, with the District of Corruption war mongers howling for their masters continuing bribes to keep the cash flowing.
    https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2018/12/25/good-riddance-to-general-mattis-and-the-rest-of-washingtons-mad-dogs-of-war/

  2. Your expertise is unique and I have learned a good deal about todays geopolitical environment from your blunt, no apologies approach. Thank you for doing what you call hard to do.

  3. The entire Russian position has actually evolved and become more self assured with the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. If you look at it Putin has used that as not only a confidence builder but a basis by which to thwart NATO and by extension the US. The diplomatic lesson where learned in the Jugoslav wars, never to be repeated. Russia, by extension Putin never trusted the US after that again, the only real lapse being Libya. Success builds confidence and you see that in the Russian military operations even in Ukraine.
    Russia has never played the short game, Putin so far has managed not to allow himself to be goaded into bad mistakes (he’s made errors, but like the best students they aren’t big and he’s learned from them. ) and in the end cleaned up situations to his favor. You see his patience coming to fruition I believe in Libya, Armenia, Georgia ( incidentally when was the last time you heard anything from the Chechen rebellion or the Georgian Gov ?), Syria, Iraq and under Putin’s tutelage even Serbia. A lot of his success is based on the highly professional and apolitical and knowledgeable diplomatic core. Where the US/EU works toward global hegemony Russia now works to keeps it’s neighbors friendly and under it’s influence.
    Trump can thank the former Warsaw Pact nation for it’s resistance to globalism. They chafed and function under the globalism that communism espoused and rebelled when the EU offered a slightly different version. The reason 30 years of hard won freedom, people are not willing to give it so easily now for globalism and promises of wealth. The EU didn’t count on free people wanting freedom over promises and exchanging one type of dominance for another. They thought they were actually getting freedom not German dominance. The Communist were bad enough, but the German arrogance irritates. The reformation of the what amounts to a modern German/Austrian empire under the guise of the EU doesn’t sit well with the Slavic lands in Europe either.

      • yeah so much for the western style democracy, pushed down the throats, and so much for being the policeman of the world, but shameless never learn or do they.

    • There’s 1 thing Mr. Putin learned from their August 2008 adventure in Georgia, that he could spook global capital markets into a crash, because that’s exactly what happend a few weeks later in September when Lehman was allowed to fail (after all the shit the govt caught for saving Bear-Stearns). Meanwhile the Russians were now in rapt attention to what their ‘incursion’ had set in motion; what came after was not lost on the Vlad-the-Impaler. Prior to the South Ossetian “incursion”, global markets were liquidating in as near-an-orderly-fashion as possible all the jicky real estate paper they’d sold worldwide. Putin swerved into a timeless rule of power-politics: everyone storms the exits when security (& predictability) goes to shit. Gets my vote for THE “trigger-mechanism” of the 2008 Financial Meltdown. If Luono was worth a crap he’d have connected these dots (long since verified) a while back.

  4. Tom, I hope you’ll write the historical account. Picture PERFECT. Ursel’s remark -likewise and then the
    pleasure o learning that you inluenced Virginia well..

    A wonderful New Year’s Gift. Merci beaucoup. Grazie multo, amico

  5. I believe President Trump’s entire message about getting out of these wars on the other side of the planet may finally be getting through the numbskulls of the Deep State.

    I look at Syria as the Monroe Doctrine in reverse. Even though Russia hasn’t stated so boldly that the West should stay out of their hemisphere, this had the same effect. And I believe the United States (the people, at least; not necessarily the Deep State) have had enough of fighting battles on the other side of the world when even our leadership can’t say in one sentence what our national interest is.

    We are treated to such platitudes as, “We can’t allow Russia to have access to year-round ports.” Why the hell not? We are told that the EU can’t fail. Why not? Take that turkey out back and shoot it. The EU has been a disaster for them, and it doesn’t necessarily serve us well if they are supposed to be our allies. Then we are told that we have to fight ISIS over there, so that we aren’t burdened with fighting ISIS over here. Then how come every one of these cases of them coming here is always just one or two people, and not an army?

    What I see from my perch is a bunch of minor skirmishes that have happened that the United States government has decided need to be blamed upon Russia. There was the incident off the coast of Ukraine, that we are told was Russia attacking a Ukraine ship, even though the preponderance of the evidence shows the exact opposite. We are being told that every problem that happens in other parts of the world is Russia’s fault, because they “attacked our election system.” That makes as much sense as does blaming Cuba for starting the War of 1812. Unless it’s the Butterfly Effect.

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  31. Excellent article. The world has changed in 2018, a genuine paradigm shift and as with all such moments the old order stumble on confused and uncomprehending. Historians will mark March 2018 as the end of the American empire, Putin’s security speech and Xi’s announcement of the Petro-Yuan mean the end of regime change and the neoliberal plunder that has blighted the world since the unipolar moment. The US military is not capable of winning a war against a peer opponent, its bloated and corrupt procurement process brings the problem of late capitalism home to the military with vastly expensive weapon systems whose primary mission is to enrich an elite. Russian hardware maintains its Soviet integrity and is built to purpose, as witnessed in Syria. Saddam and Gaddafi met their end for daring to challenge the dollar system but the list of ”crappy countries the US can throw against the wall’ as I recall it described is diminishing and surely ends with Russia and China. The American project has not a vestige of legitimacy or attraction. Regime change, sanctions, dollar servitude and war can no longer be dressed up as a fight for freedom and democracy glossed up by Hollywood. The Chinese plans for infrastructural interconnectivity and the Russian diplomacy emphasising sovereignty may yet save capitalism from itself, for a while, and ironically, for patient Putin, will deliver a cold revenge for the Soviet Union.

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  33. Though I think most of what you state here might have some obscure meaning politically, I find that most of what you just wrote is utter BS. There hasn’t been a “winnable war” since WW II, so there’s that. Then there is all this talk of empire. Where have you been for the past 100 years? The Power Elites have been using our military as their own personal police force (more like hit squad) for the better part of the last century to further their own PERSONAL AGENDAS (i.e. wealth building) within the underworlds or narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking. If you want to know who runs the show just follow the money and then see who you are NOT allowed to criticize. Any Cartel member will tell you that the CIA runs the entire global show and the US Congress protects them with “laws” that further the overall agenda. Theft. But if you actually say this you are labeled with “conspiracy theorist” or some other catch phrase of the day to discredit you (Saul Alinsky; Rules for Radicals). If you have enough media clout and the bribes and intimidation don’t work, they just kill you. And the media covers THAT up too!

    The CIA creates chaos. The US Congress passes laws to counter chaos. All while handing no bid government contracts (worth Trillions of YOUR tax dollars) to their family members. Media buries the truth and throws up some BS to misdirect the people. Meanwhile, the bankers who also profit from all of this death and misery use inflation then deflation to rape nations of their wealth to purposefully destroy the middle class so that a counter-insurgency becomes highly improbable. Why do you think there is a death tax people? Why do we have any taxes whatsoever? It’s not like they need that money when they can literally print as much as any legitimate government may need. And with every Presidential election this cabal just continues to grow. Nothing is ever done about it. Why is that? Republican or Democrat, makes no difference. These political parties are of one mind. “Government, like fire is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master” (G. Washington).

    Politics is just a way for the bought and paid for media journalist (such as yourself) to baffle us with their BS while criminal elements within the CIA continue to dominate the global black markets. Elections are simply a form of posturing to give the masses the illusion of power. Political Posturing, Nation Building, Regime Change, are the smoke screens that cover what they are actually doing. Raping, murdering, pillaging, stealing whatever isn’t nailed down. The US military, no matter what they are told by their superiors about how patriotic the mission, have become strong arm enforcers for what amounts to common piracy and treason to facilitate a global takeover. The sooner they wake up to this fact the better (and I am a vet saying that). It’s nothing more than a gigantic elaborate heist, but no one can see through the smoke screens of misdirection that allow criminal elements at the very highest seats of power to get away with it because assholes like you write shit op-ed crap like this instead of telling the truth for the last 60 years.

    YOU and YOUR ilk are to blame for this, and you will swing with the rest of the traitors you “colluded” with. Violent revolution is all you have left the people with as a matter of recourse (i.e. yellow vests in France). And there are still, by far, a lot more of us than there are of you. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Pick a side. It’s about to get busy up in here.

    • William,

      Do you think I agreed with any of this nonsense in Syria? Everything you said here I fundamentally agree with and have said here on this blog and in other places for years. I think you completely misread the article and my position and got yourself triggered. This article is a mostly dispassionate rundown of the history to remind everyone how we got here. It’s also a culmination of three years of my work and analysis which predicted each and every turn of events in Syria…. which, by the way, I am ecstatic about…. if the pull out actually happens (which is now in doubt as Graham reminds Trump just how powerful the MIC is).

      Of course the empire has to die. But, that doesn’t mean it will go quietly. I chose a side 20 years ago. I’m sorry you misread this piece… but if you do even a cursory glance through this blog or my catalog at https://www.strategic-culture.org/authors/tom-luongo.html I think you’ll read this piece in a very different light.

  34. Watching daily videos of building the Crimea bridge (and now the supporting inter-structure), it is becoming apparent the long range plan is for the Silk Railroad to cross that bridge from China to Europe via the eventually peaceful Ukraine. The bridge was expensive, but the double rail line is being built to be more capable of speed and capacity than any transcontinental one in the USA.

    • Yes Dave and when you realize just how important Crimea is to the Makinder view of geopolitics that bridge is a monument to the waning power of the US/UK oligarchy to control the Heartland

      • The bridge also shortens the path to the Danube. Sevastopol’s port has more capacity and a shorter travel distance to the Danube, which opens to a huge market. This allows One belt to bypass some of the more hostile countries (to Russia like Ukraine and Poland ), while saving them from having to build new port infrastructure.

  35. Great analysis, as always, Tom. Thank you for this panoramic view of things.

    What is under estimated as enemy of the US is the national debt. Trump appears to be aware that this enemy could become acute and that nothing would be worse at that moment than to be stuck in an endless war quagmire. His decision to pull out of Syria now is clever: now it is leaving after victory over ISIS. If he waits it will be leaving in defeat – not good for army moral. In addition this will leave money for infrastructure and other inland necessities like better workforce training and possibly some money to pay down debt. While that will shrink the economy in the short run, it will give the finances to move it to more genuine foundations in real work and civilian product innovation. If Trump ceases this opportunity, he will in fact have fulfilled his MAGA promise and even the Dems will not be able to snicker anymore.

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