Where does this absurd game of the war on terror begin and where does it end in the 41 countries with Islamic militants? Does the Western war on terror stay focused on what the US and EU want, does it include what Russia and China want, does it go farther to include Africa and India? Who decides, who carries out these costly campaigns and where does it stop considering the nature of terrorism is unconventional and the next door neighbor could be one do carry out an act despite Russian, US, and French planes bombing specific targets. One reason that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ruled out troops on the ground in Syria (19 November 2015) is because she knows it will end in political, military and economic failure for the US, while alienating if not radicalizing Muslims across the world.
In his speech on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, Obama stated: “This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.” What he had in mind was drone warfare that many organizations and governments have condemned as causing indiscriminate damage and killing far more innocent civilians than rebels in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. For this kind of war that has proved controversial, if not a war crime, Obama is asking the support of the people, knowing full well very few would dare to criticize any kind of war against terrorism. Clinton supports this as well and many Republicans would have the marines land in Syria because the record shows that things worked out so well in Iraq and Afghanistan!
The Obama policy is in essence a rehashed Bush policy with drones and covert operations through various local agents. Will this achieve its goal, or create more terrorism which is the unspoken goal because it serves the political, economic and diplomatic (balance of power) interests of the US? The only thing that matters is that the president and the government project an image of strength identified with military action that makes Americans feel safer at home and perhaps put the fear of God in America’s enemies. Right wingers and of course Israel and its American supporters believe that America must do more militarily to teach terrorists a lesson - no doubt a lesson that would only create more terrorism as it has in the last fifteen years. Reality is not important for these people driven by ideology, racism, political opportunism, and defense industry lobbying influence. The image projected through the media that they are “fighting terrorism” is the only thing that matters.
When Pope Francis announced that people join terrorists is the result of absence of social justice, many in the West took it as criticism that lacks basis in empirical reality. However, this is something well established long before the Pope’s announcement. There are media outlets that try to provide a more rational approach to these issues, avd occasionally there are voices of reason even within the mainstreal media. However, self-censorship is what rules the day when it comes to conformity with government and business, otherwise people lose their jobs. For example, on 19 November 2015, CNN foreign affairs correspondent Elise Labott, had to apologize after her network suspended her merely because she wrote in TWITTER House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish. If this innocuous comment was sufficient for CNN to suspend this mainstream reporter, what would they do if the reporter dared ask who had been providing funding, technical training, intelligence and other support to Syrian rebels fighting against Assad but then turning against the West that had been supporting them in the first place? Given the reality of survival that comes first in peoples' lives, they will not express their opinion freely - in government, media, academia, business, and even social circles - because they know self-censorship is the way to put food on the table.
It is incumbent upon any government to protect its citizens from threats domestic and foreign, while working within the constitutional and legal framework. The establishment of Homeland Security has violated the constitutional (Fourth Amendment - prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause) and legal framework (open records law) as we now know as a result of the Edward Snowden revelations, while it has not deterred terrorism on a global scale, although it has helped to deter it up to a degree domestically. Homeland Security projects the image that it is the solution to a problem. Moreover, Homeland Security is in essence a pretext to strengthen the police state that the US has become so that it can justify the continuation of the dying Pax Americana and neoliberal policies that continue to weaken the social fabric at home.
At the start of the foreign-instigated civil war in Syria, Syrian forces shut down a Turkish reconnaissance plane (June 2012). Unlike Turkey refusing to apologize to Russia for downing the Russian plane, Syria apologized for the incident and called for cordial relations with its neighbor. Second, ISIS oil does in fact go through Turkey and it is sold on the black market to the tune of $1.5 million per day. Amazingly, Erdogan argued that ISIS and Assad are collaborators because ISIS in fact sells its oil to Assad, the president they are trying to overthrow!
Second, ISIS oil does in fact go through Turkey and it is sold on the black market to the tune of $1.5 million per day. Third, Turkey as a NATO member most likely consulted with the US and probably NATO before it shot down the Russian plane, considering that the Russians had been violating Turkish air space for at least a month. Without US giving the green light, Ankara would never carry out such an act that would only cause a series of retaliatory measures from Moscow. Fourth, the shooting down of the Russian plane exposes the farce about the war on terror that is in fact a war to perpetuate terrorism, considering the message Turkey’s action and indirectly the US are sending to ISIS. Fifth, judging by the reaction of the Western media regarding the shooting down of the Russian place, the US and its partners had no problem at all with Ankara’s action. Russian intelligence did uncover that within the NATO alliance, some members were not happy with Turkey’s action, but the US position was to back Ankara.
Similar contradictions as Ambassador Ford noted are blatant in the case of Ukraine where containment and encirclement US policies are bound to backfire in the absence of a political solution or ideological foundation rooted in democratic principles rather than political opportunism intended for short-term geopolitical and economic gains. Supporting neo-Nazis among other heterogeneous elements in the Ukraine against the Russian-backed separatist elements is not merely a manifestation of an incoherent foreign policy filled with contradictions and aimlessness for the ‘democratic’ West, it also reveals Washington’s desperate anachronistic Cold War solutions to 21st century problems amid the slow decline of the US in relationship to China.