Israel and Russia At Odds Over Syria


Times of global economic disruption or depression have often historically been preludes to war. So too have been periods of geopolitical instability, where new economic powers are rising, and old ones falling. Back in 2008 the United States’ tenture as the sole global superpower appeared to be endangered, and we appeared to be on the cusp of a new multipolar world order.  And at the same time a new demand-side depression bearing some eerily similar characteristics to the Great Depression surfaced. So — even though we were sitting on the back of a huge trend of decreasing war and violence — I was to a small degree worried that this slump might be a prelude to another global conflict.

Luckily — with the exception of a few skirmishes in the middle east following the Arab spring — no such wide-scale global conflict has broken out. The forces of peace have kept the forces of war and chaos mostly at bay. No direct war between the great powers has broken out. Given the high level of trade interdependency and global economic integration that now exists — factors which play a great role in discouraging conflict — that is very good news. Avoiding a new global conflict should be a top priority for policymakers, corporations, and individuals worldwide.

Hopefully, then, the latest friction in the middle east — this time between Israel and Russia — will amount to nothing:

 Israel’s defense chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syriawas a “threat” and signaled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery.

The warning by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ratcheted up tensions with Moscow over the planned sale of S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria. Earlier in the day, a top Russian official said his government remained committed to the deal.

Israel has been lobbying Moscow to halt the sale, fearing the missiles would upset the balance of power in the region and could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian regime.

Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent months that are believed to have destroyed weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. Israel has not confirmed carrying out the attacks.

The delivery of the Russian missiles to Syria could limit the Israeli air force’s ability to act. It is not clear whether Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace in these attacks.

Attacking Syrian bases and weaponry is one thing. Attacking Russian attempts to aid the Syrian government is quite another — and could very easily have dark consequences. Perhaps Russian interests in Syria — including their naval base there — are a lost cause. Perhaps Russian attempts to help the Syrian government are misguided. And perhaps Western attempts to aid the Syrian rebels — who  have some have affiliations with al-Qaeda and radical Islamism, and who have reportedly used chemical weapons — overthrow Assad are even more misguided and even more dangerous. Neither side can really claim the moral high ground in what is effectively a proxy war between the Russian-backed government and Western-backed rebels. Both sides have committed atrocities and killed civilians and journalists. All that has been achieved is massive disruption to millions of ordinary Syrians who have had to flee the country.

Ideally, a peace based around compromise, power-sharing  and democracy can be brokered by the UN Security Council to avoid any further escalation. But unfortunately, both the Russians and the West are continuing to provide material support to their favoured sides. That has been bad for the Syrian people, whose country lies ruined and abandoned and while they now populate refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. But it could even worse for the region and the world with further escalation.

Hopefully, there will be no escalation. Hopefully, the Syrian Civil War will wind down to a stalemate, peace terms will be brokered and the refugees will be able to go home. Hopefully the great powers who have so far allowed this proxy war to continue will realise that fighting a proxy war in Syria is a very dangerous thing. The likeliest outcome is that the forces of inertia, peace and economic development will triumph over the forces of chaos. But this is not assured so long as this dangerous proxy war goes on.

22 thoughts on “Israel and Russia At Odds Over Syria

  1. It’s a very scary situation. I fear that the combination of Al Queda consciously baiting us into war, our alliance with Israel, our burgeoning military industrial complex and the distractive and economic temptations of war….will be too much for either the US or Russia to resist.

  2. The whole Arab Spring is a criminal conspiracy. Someone backed the uprisings. What has it achieved for them. Nothing. Tourism is in tatters. Their currencies collapsed. A total disaster.

    Qaddafi and Assad said the Rebels were Terrorists, and they were right, yet our Western leaders said they was bombing their own people. Western Leaders are complicit in the whole matter. An absolute disgrace. For the past 10 years the whole region has been a hotbed of suffering. For what? 3000 people in 911? Our leaders should have turned the cheek and did more research. Quelled the emotive response of the public. Explain we’ll unleash a hornets nest.

    It took total defeat of Germany to allow the West to trial the Nazis. Will the West be totally defeated before our leaders are hung?

    The Australian Cardinal Pell, showed an absolute lack of remorse, emotion in the child Catholic Church pedophile scandal. Leaders are Sociopaths and need to be eliminated from the highest levels. They unleash pain and misery everywhere.

    • “Western Leaders are complicit in the whole matter”
      It would be very interesting if someone try to analyze the outcomes of the various “orange revolutions” and of the “Arab Spring” too, and make comparison with their stated objectives. In my opinion, a bleak picture would come out, and the blame can be attributed also to the amateurism of Western politicians. Do they and their advisers ever heard of the theory of Heterogony of ends?

      • Being of Ukrainian origin, the Orange Revolution was a sick joke. The initial protest was a pre-organised “Free” rock concert, that got many youths to come into the square. Then there was a lot of anecdotal evidence of a lot of drug consumption. The crowd was wired up to look “energised” then they pulled the Orange Revolution speeches during the concert. It was a big joke.

        I have enough problems with Ukrainian Politics in Australia, even with our “Western Idealist” Government agencies, supposedly keeping everything above board. The plight of Ukrainians in their own country must be beyond despair.

        This whole Orange Revolution played on their hopes for change, but they are all thieves and liars. Julia Tymoshenko was caught out, and is now paying to keep her plight in the media and various agencies that facilitate “Democracy”.

        I could only imagine the Arab Spring players being funded to achieve “instability”, just as the Orange Revolution was. It is almost as if they have a script ready, that anticipates someone “losing it” i.e. that Market street trader self emulation in Tunisia, that started this whole fiasco.

        So they get to rearrange the “deck chairs” and make money out of human suffering. Sociopaths. Criminals without the defense of intellectual retardation. MENS REA!

    • “Leaders are Sociopaths and need to be eliminated from the highest levels. They unleash pain and misery everywhere.”

      It follows that if the purpose of all group activity is to steal from individuals, then I would agree that all leaders are indeed, by definition, sociopaths.

      The problem is that most of them believe that the harm they do is in the public interest, as do the entire professional class.

      This is the danger of investing in the notion that human beings are capable of intellectual understanding, one whose returns have been century after century of lying, deceit, fraud, outright theft, and all the rest

      • Hitler thought he was doing the right thing. Even when Germany was a smoldering wreck, he had the nerve to say the Germans deserved what they got.

        BTW. How do Bush Blair Howard walk down the street and look people in the eye? I hear nothing about them. Never see their happy faces on the front cover of the Women’s “Stalker” Magazines.

  3. The process of becoming an adult is internalizing all the lies that your society has baked in a great big cake called The Social Order.

    It would seem reasonable that if you laid out the conditions of the world to any eight year old, that they would be more than able to conclude that the much more mischief is being created by those who seek to secure their wealth, then those who seek to gain a cut of it.

  4. Sorry, off-topic: I saw some recent tweets of yours on the natural rate of interest. But I can’t help but think that you’re misunderstanding it somewhat (at least the way I see it). You wrote:

    “There’s no such thing as a natural price for anything. Prices are determined by individuals’ subjective outlooks.”

    I would agree. The natural rate of interest is the interest rate that would prevail if money creation, lending, and borrowing were completely determined by the subjective preferences (expressed via actions–not quite the same as outlooks) of lenders, borrowers, and profit-making intermediaries. This rate is of course unobservable, but surely you must agree that it’s out there, or at least theoretically conceivable.

    • Is there a “natural price” of shoes? Sure there is–the price that would prevail in the shoe market absent govt subsidies, tariffs, and other market distortions. But in general, we don’t care much about such a price b/c the resultant distortions only affect the shoe market.

      Money, however, constitutes half of nearly every transaction. But, as Yeager notes, money “has no market of its own.” In other words, when monetary and credit conditions (incl. int. rates) have to readjust, the “price of money” (i.e. price level) can’t unilaterally shift; instead, prices of everything else in the economy must bear the burden of readjustment. This can be painful.

      If money supply growth and interest rates were instead determined by the subjective preferences of market actors, monetary disequilibrium theorists argue that both the distortions and readjustments would be less disruptive. Whether you agree or not is another matter, but I think surely those who believe in the concept of the natural rate of interest agree that it is determined by subjective preferences.

      Btw, have you read “Boom and Bust Banking” by David Beckworth (and many others, incl. Scott Sumner)? I think it would influence your thinking about the natural rate of interest and other monetary issues.

      • Let’s say you were watching, “The Gauntlet,” [Clint Eastwood, Sandra Locke]. The natural price of anything would be if they drove that bus to city hall completely of their free will.

        The conditions which apply in this economy is similar to what really happened to Eastwood/Locke in their journey, so, if you can figure out the the ramifications of absorbing four hundred zillions rounds into that bus, then you can figure out how this global economy works and what the price of something should be.

        The point being, that you can’t know, which is why the truly successful people on this planet [99.9% of’em] got that way through methods that would not exactly be sanctioned by the boy/girl scouts.

        This is why it has always been said that behind every great fortune is a great crime.

  5. Let me see if I have this correct.

    Syria beefing up its DEFENSE against Israeli OFFENSE is “a threat”.

    Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture,

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  7. bring it on get this shit over with. WWIII is what they want I say give it to em and stop all the corrupt powers that be . since Ive awoke to the real history of our country of lies and coverups I welcome a chance at leveling the playing field and a fresh start .I dont see any other chance of it happening without taking them out because justice is dead and nothing can fix it but something of a magnitude of global war that takes all of them down. and hopefully hope will survive

    • That’s a “tad” too reckless for me. Unleashing “the dogs of war” always has unforeseen circumstances. Let’s be more levelheaded than that.

  8. Pingback: Israel and Russia At Odds Over Syria | The Usual Sources

  9. Where is the media following up on the aftermath of “Regime Change”. It is almost as if it is free reign to strip the countries, like a conquest.

    And don’t forget the Public assets that funded the poor programs (Qaddafi was popular among the poor and had the highest literacy rates in Africa) are now being privatised (Read stolen) by Western interests. We don’t hear about that on the news.

    Like I continue to say, all leaders around the world are sociopathic criminals and need to be put in check by a “Supreme Council” of Psychologists. Then we will have world peace. And truth, justice and the benevolent way!

    • Sociopats maybe, but it is a global system of power that makes them all what they are. Even if there are normal persons among them, they start to behave in the same way. The system settings change the people, single persons cannot change global settings.

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