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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Enemy

2016-11-21

The preceding piece on ex-General Michael Flynn mentioned Mr. Flynn’s relationship with Russia and his advocacy of rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  There is also, in the article by Seymour M. Hersh, a statement that China has a stake in the Syrian conflict and that China also faces an Islamic terrorist problem.  There are two comments following the article which present an alternate point of view, namely, that Mr. Hersh is not telling the entire truth.

China does have a problem with Islamic terrorists, and China is an ally of the Syrian government, but there is more to the story, as usual.  The Chinese government is oppressive towards its Uighur minority, and there is an equivalent Uighur Muslim resistance which could be described by the Chinese as terrorism.

Russia has a problem with Islamic terrorists, particularly in Chechnya, but the Russian government is no more benign than the Chinese government.  Premier Vladimir Putin has abrogated democratic elections, ordered the assassination of dissenting journalists, and engaged in brutal acts of terrorism against its own people on many occasions.  These actions have been publicized in many American news media over the years, and the stories are not false.

Perhaps the most famous story is that of the assassination of a Russian dissident, a former member of the Russian intelligence services, in England.  The dissident was killed with a solution of polonium-210 surreptitiously administered in his tea; it took him a month to die of internal radiation poisoning.  His death would have been a mystery if the doctors treating him had not had the inspiration to investigate the possibility of poisoning by an alpha-particle-emitting radioactive element, a substance that could only have been obtained by a government with the specialized resources that Russia possesses.

Such curiosities aside, it is clear that Russia is governed by an oppressive regime.  China is governed by a similarly repressive regime.  Syria is governed by a genocidal, oppressive regime which thinks nothing of murdering its own people with poison gas.  The Islamic State is an ideologically-driven, aggressive, violent, and oppressive regime.  The only government that I can say is not oppressive is that of the United States, and I’m not entirely sure of our own purity.

Perhaps the only truth is that governments are, of necessity, violent and oppressive, and there is no way to effectively govern the people without resort to violence and repression.  That is hard for me to believe.  There must be some way to govern effectually without resorting to repression, obstruction of basic human rights, violence, and murder.  There must, somehow.

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