Did Russia prevent World War III, again?

Russia has once again forestalled a potentially nuclear World War III confrontation. The US imperial establishment and its UK partners have been forced to withdraw plans for a military “option” in Syria in the near future. In an ill-covered press conference, Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Secretary of Foreign affairs Boris Johnson both conceded that diplomacy is the only way to end the Syrian conflict. Kerry made clear in his report that a confrontation with Russia was the number one deterrent of a military escalation in Syria. According to Kerry, Russia’s involvement in Syria has indeed “raised the stakes of confrontation.”

Kerry’s position has not found unanimous support within the US imperial state. The September 17th bombing of Deir Ez-Zor was followed up with increased posturing from a section of the US military state toward the Syrian and Russian governments. US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power originally called the imperial coalition’s murder of over 80 Syrian soldiers “regrettable,” only to then use the UN Security Council platform to blame Russia for the war on Syria. The US chief of staff of the military Mark Milley recently piled on more threats against US “enemies” (namely Russia and China). Milley promised that the US military would “beat” its targets “harder than ever before” in a military confrontation.

On Friday, October 14th, the Obama Administration raised the stakes further by calling an emergency national security meeting to discuss a possible military option in Syria. Unlike the summer of 2013, neither the corporate media nor the US public gave much attention to the meeting. According to Reuters, President Obama was unlikely to authorize US military personnel or airstrikes on Syrian targets. It was clear, however, that Obama would continue his long standing material support for the so-called rebels waging war inside of the Syrian state. The US military establishment has justified further aid in response to the so-called shelling of Aleppo, which has been conveniently blamed on Russia.

However, the truth is that Aleppo has been under constant siege by Al-Qaeda affiliated rebelsfunded, armed, and trained by Turkey, the Gulf Monarchies, and the US-NATO alliance. The US imperial alliance’s concession to Russia ensures the inevitability of a Syrian government victory in Aleppo. A Syrian government victory in Aleppo would cut off rebel activity in one of its lucrative sources. This spells doom for the US strategy to use takfiri death squads as foot soldiers of regime change. The strategy was destined to fail, making the possibility of a US military invasion similar to that of Libya in 2011 all the more dangerous.

The people of the US and West have Russia to thank for once again playing the role of regime change prevention in Syria. Russia’s naval, air, and ground support to Syrian forces has successfully weakened ISIS’s presence in the country. Russia has also steadfastly demanded that a legitimate ceasefire to the war must include the targeted elimination of the US-backed Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Nusra Front. Russian President Vladimir Putin himself has also promised that US airstrikes on Syrian government targets would compel Russia to shoot down US coalition air forces. Such a scenario would challenge the US to pick on a nation of comparable military capabilities.

A direct war between Russia and the US would immediately bring the world to the nuclear brink. Hillary Clinton’s plans for a “no fly zone” over Syria are the most likely source of such a confrontation. A “no fly zone” would include US bombs on Syrian and Russian forces fighting terror groups inside of Syria. It would also require around 70,000 US troops to manage. It remains to be seen whether the crisis-ridden capitalist economy as well as popular sentiment in the Western world would support this exhaustive war maneuver.

An all out military war would place the US in a position of vulnerability. Numerous sources have concluded that the US military possesses neither the will nor weaponry to defeat Russian forces in combat. What the US does have is the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. And Hillary Clinton is just the war-monger to “pull the trigger.” Her record indicates that she has never seen a war she didn’t like as long as it politically serves her career and lines the pockets of her corporate masters.

But for now, Russia has prevailed in holding off the next World War. The problem is, however, that the US imperial system will continue to pursue regime change in Syria whenever conditions allow. US imperialism is currently waging a phony campaign to “liberate” the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS. ISIS fighters will most likely make their way to Raqqa, Syria once driven out of Iraq by the US and its allies. It has long been proven that ISIS rose from the ashes of the US invasion of Iraq, which destroyed the Iraqi state and left a vacuum for terror groups to thrive in. The so-called war against ISIS in Iraq has thus been nothing more than an adjustment of the larger goal of destabilization of the sovereign state of Syria.

US wars of destabilization are not a random occurrence. They reflect both the waning dominance and the growing weakness of the US imperialist order. The US and its allies are nation-states controlled by the transitional capitalist class looking to profit from the spoils of war. But global capitalism is in a slowdown and the US economy is much weaker than it was just five decades ago. And regime change operations have historically achieved nothing but chaos and destruction. But what if chaos, destruction, and economic stagnation are all the imperialist system has to offer in this historical moment?

Unlike China and Russia, imperialism cannot offer independence. It cannot offer dignity, sovereignty, or the right to life. Imperialism is the enemy of self-determination. And now, the capitalist infrastructure that underlies imperial war no longer offers growth. Russia and its allies are fighting to maintain sovereignty in a time when such efforts present a revolutionary threat to a dying empire. It is time to organize a movement against endless US warfare so humanity as a whole can look forward to building a world characterized by peace with justice.

This article was written by Danny Haiphong for American Herald Tribune on Oct. 20, 2016. Danny Haiphong is an activist and radical journalist in the Boston Area.