By Rod P. Kapunan
Manila Standard Today
The collapse of the Soviet Union in August 1991 apparently brought to an end the Cold War between the two rival superpowers—the United States and the then- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Indeed, it was fallacious to assume that the ideological abnegation of Russia and China erased the wedge that once divided the people in what came to be known as the “polarized world”.
What many failed to anticipate is that the temporary end of the Cold War was circumstantial to the demise of the Soviet Union and to the subsequent disintegration of the states comprising the Warsaw Pact and the members of the Council for Mutual Economic Agreement. No sooner after the Soviet Union metamorphosed to become present-day Russia, the Cold War between the US and that country, together with erstwhile ideological ally China, resumed. While ideology was eliminated as the primordial factor, the renewed Cold War served to emphasize the deep-seated distrust among states in pursuit of their national interests.
Even if it was accepted that the Cold War did not denote the absence of actual conflict between the leading superpowers, just the same limited conflicts continue to rage without let up in many areas with their local proxies fighting the same degree of brutality that characterized all wars. Though diplomacy appeared to work in the relations of the US and the Soviet Union, the two using their proxies fought prominently in the Korean War in 1950 and in the Vietnam War in the 60s up to the 70s. Despite the fact that each was known to broker the requirements of a sustained war, they tried as much as possible to avoid direct involvement that could entrap them in a bloody quagmire.
Nonetheless, the elimination of socialism as factor, often equated as a threat to capitalism, did not slow down the appetite of the imperialist powers led by the US for world domination. The renewed Cold War heightened hegemony and chauvinism. For that, states have to fight back the jingoistic ambition of the new imperialists called neo-liberals. The political convulsions in the Middle East called in the West as Arab Spring is a proxy war to eliminate those Soviet- supported leaders that emerged during the Cold War.
As always, the neo-liberals pit people against their own people as what they did to generate civil war in Libya that ended in the murder of Libyan President Muammar Gaddhafi and in the systematic bombing of his country by the syndicated military organization called NATO. The aggression and destruction of Libya was an open disregard by the US and its NATO allies—France, Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium and Italy—of international law and of the sovereignty of nation-states.
The same proxy war is now being fought in Syria with the US, Israel, Britain, France financing the bloody enterprise, and their operatives giving instructions on how to wreck havoc to a country that refuses to adopt their brand of democracy. Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and other fundamentalist states ruled by despots and tyrants supply the much-needed manpower. After all, Bashar al-Assad of Syria is a remnant of the US-Soviet Cold War era and he remains ardently anti-imperialist, secularist and anti-Zionist.
The war that was fiercely fought in the capital city of Damascus and in the commercial city of Aleppo was seen by many as a war for survival against foreign intervention made up of an odd mixture of mercenaries, bigoted fundamentalists, terrorists, trouble makers and dregs from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, and a sprinkling of CIA, Mossad and al Qaeda operatives to guide what many derisively say as “Arab camels” mindlessly shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
As of the latest, the interventionist rebels are being dislodged in their strongholds. The great majority of the Syrian people now realize they are not fighting a civil war of pro- and anti-Assad, but a proxy war financed and armed by the West and the state of Israel to contain Iran and isolate the Shiite Muslims in Syria, Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip. Thus, as the war progresses with the mercenaries and terrorists on the retreat, their propaganda of promoting democracy in Syria is fast losing its appeal.
For that, the “rebels” have resorted to brutality and outright terrorism to intimidate the civilian population. They assassinate civil servants to disrupt government services, kidnap and kill journalists making an independent assessment of the situation, and bomb population centers to sow widespread fear and demoralization. To avert disastrous and humiliating defeat, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hastily visited Turkey to arrange the possibility of repeating their criminal act of by imposing a “no-fly-zone” in Syria as what they did in Libya with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglo and with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. US defense secretary and former CIA chief Leon Panetta also ratcheted by publicly telling Assad “to get the hell out of Syria,” an arrogant statement coming at that from an official of a criminal state.
Understandably, the expressed support by Russia and China to the government of Bashar al-Assad would have nothing to do with the old fraternal ideological solidarity, but of the growing danger that lurks; that in their own backyard those criminal warmongers could do the same to fan the flames of unrest. It is on this basis why Russia and China are acting to thwart this test case of aggression in Syria. No sooner, they would face the same specter of battling foreign-supported separatist movements as what is happening now in Russia’s Caucasus region by Chechen rebels, and in China’s Tibet and Xingjian regions to sow violent unrest among the Tibetan and Uighur population.