I never thought the day would come when I would have to quote a Fox News host as the voice of reason in a world that is diving down the rabbit hole, but here I am. Never say never.
Why? Because Tucker Carlson’s rant this week against bombing Syria and potentially starting a third world war made total sense. For once, I was actually wishing US President Donald Trump would follow the advice being offered to him by that television channel he watches so religiously, much to the exasperation of his critics who despise it.
Carlson noted how both Democrats and Republicans were in a bipartisan tizzy, with the mainstream media in tow, pushing for military intervention by the US over the latest suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria.
More than 40 people, many of them children, were said to have been killed on April 4 in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, which Western powers have automatically blamed — with no proof whatsoever — on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“How would it benefit Assad using chlorine gas last weekend? Well it wouldn’t,” Carlson argued.
“Assad’s forces had been winning the war in Syria. The administration just announced its plans to pull American troops out of Syria, having vanquished IS [Islamic State]. That’s good news for Assad. About the only thing he could do to reverse it and to hurt himself would be to use poison gas against children.”
Trump bombed Syria a year ago after dozens were killed in another chemical attack that was blamed on Assad, with the US and its allies refusing to entertain the possibility that ruthless rebels trying to incriminate government forces might well have been responsible.
The fact is, chemical weapons in this horrific civil war have been used by both the Syrian military and rebel groups — some of whom are really nasty extremist outfits and nothing like the champions of democracy they are regularly portrayed as by the West. This sort of talk, by the way, is instantly condemned by the mainstream narrative as heresy, facts and legitimate doubts be damned.
Now it’s happening again, with the US and its British and French global policing cronies raining more than 100 missiles on Syria. Déjà vu to some extent, but the truly worrying caveat this time is that the Russians, who have boots on the ground to prop up the regime, are looking to retaliate.
That would be a very alarming escalation indeed, and far more informed commentators than me, as well as senior officials involved, are warning of the real threat of a third world war.
“We are prepared to sustain this response,” Trump said, and this time he has war junkie John Bolton as national security adviser to convince him of the need to risk a global conflict.
Carlson also asked important questions that the jingoists baying for blood have no cogent answer to: “Would it make America safer? Would it make the region more stable? Let’’s see, how exactly did regime change work in Iraq and Libya? With Assad gone who would run it, exactly? Do we have another strongman in place to instal or is it our hope that a stable democracy will magically appear in the wake of this protracted civil war?”
Just a few years ago, when he was warning his predecessor Barack Obama to stay out of Syria or risk the end of the world, Trump regularly sent out tweets such as this: “Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”
Well, suffice to say there’s more than a “small chance” of Armageddon, under his own “horrendous leadership” this time.
Too bad about his chronic amnesia, but maybe we can hope against hope that Trump will still heed advice on Fox News that’s actually worth taking. — by Yonden Lhatoo, South China Morning Post
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the South China Morning Post.