The dreadful Russian-backed slaughter in Syria’s Eastern Gouta mirrors in many ways China’s support for the 2009 endgame of the Sri Lankan civil war and Vietnam’s shutting down of the Cambodian genocide in 1979. While the origins of these conflicts might have been understandable – repression by dictatorial or racist regimes –those who end up driving them too often become psychopathic murderers.
The Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers, under their cultist leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, brainwashed battalions of child soldiers, invented the suicide vest, and brutally ran northern and eastern Sri Lanka while taking money from fund raising events backed by British members of parliament.
In Cambodia, Western democracies stood back and watched while the Khmer Rouge killed millions, until the Vietnamese went in to do their dirty work for them. Then, like any bad manager caught rabbit-like in headlights, these fair-weather leaders of the democratic world stand up accusingly and cry war crimes. Vietnam which ended the Cambodian slaughter was exiled from the international community, its people kept in poverty while under the umbrella of Western duplicity, Khmer Rouge murderers sat in the United Nations, dining at New York’s finest restaurants.
Both Cambodia and Sri Lanka are far better places than were during war, although that doesn’t make them good, and it is this real world choice we have between really bad and bad, that Western politicians fail to explain.
Ending war isn’t pretty. Churchill with Dresden and Truman with Hiroshima knew this.
Syria remains a tragedy in progress and, if the West continues along its tired, blinkered path, Islamic State is far more likely to prevail. There is no Nelson Mandela waiting in the wings and opposition groups have failed to produce a cohesive military or political operation that can do better than the regime already there.
Any idea that a truce, elections and the removal of Assad, would do the business is nonsense and any concept that Western policy is driven by humanity rather that strategic interests have long been blown away by the continuing explosions of barrel bombs.
Mahatma Gandhi spoke about the violence of poverty. In Syria, we have the violence of mythical morality whereby false hopes spread by Western illusions will at some stage be held as accountable for the horror as the salvos of Syrian guns.