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John Chuckman



“Who, on the left or right, will stand up for Syria?’

A truly confused bit of writing, Mr. Cohen, but I do believe the intention here is to confuse rather than inform.

“…the practical effect of Nato policy has been to give Russia a free pass, as Corbyn does.”

Free pass? What on earth is that supposed to mean?

And why is decent Jeremy Corbyn thrown in? Seems to me a gratuitous little kick at a man Guardian editors and a number of its columnists have never ceased accusing and abusing?

Permit me to remind readers of the most basic fact of this situation. Russia was invited by a legitimate, elected government to help fight a literal explosion of genuine terror, terror financed and supported from outside the country.

All the murderous efforts destroying the beautiful and previously peaceful land of Syria by several countries takes place under the auspices and blessing of the United States.

It pretends that President Assad is a terrible man who cannot “be allowed” to continue ruling his own country, although just when or why God delegated to the United States the task of designating what is evil is unknown. The people of Syria, in any event, say otherwise, with every poll supporting him and the army remaining faithful.

Why does the United States do this? Essentially it is because Assad is an intelligent and independent-minded leader who keeps the interests of his own people foremost. But there are two very specific reasons intensifying the dislike of Assad’s independent-mindedness.

One, is a gas pipeline the United States wants built across Syria. Assad doesn’t agree with the project, and not agreeing with the United States can prove a very dangerous thing, even in your own country.

Second, Israel hates Assad and wants him gone, and in the politics of the United States the wishes of Israel play an outsized role.

To my mind, almost all fair-minded people and all true liberals would agree those make a pretty contemptible reason to tear a country apart and kill 300,000 people. How is it different to the worst war crimes? It’s not.

And how is NATO involved, unless you advocate it invading a country where it is not welcome?

Of course, what you are really saying is that you are upset that America’s ugly plans for the region appear to have been thwarted, and all I can say – a genuine liberal, not a notional one – is a heartfelt hurray.

I’m sorry to disagree with your words about liberalism, but the word means a great deal to me, reflecting the culmination of a long and often painful history in Europe.

Real liberals do not support war, especially the kind of aggressive and dishonest war being fought in Syria.

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