We’re told that Lord Palmerston was the first to say that the Britain had no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. Whether the famed Victorian imperialist was really the first to say it only concerns historians these days. It certainly reflects the thinking of the Renaissance princes that Machiavelli so admired and it probably goes back to Roman days. The days of the British Empire that spanned the world are long gone but Palmerston’s doctrine lives on in Washington, the beating heart of US imperialism.
The Cuban revolutionary, Che Guevara, once said that “you can never trust imperialism, not even for the least thing, absolutely nothing”. That was back in 1964. Sadly many leaders of the liberation movements that broke the chains of colonialism fell for the false promises of American ‘assistance’ and Western ‘aid’ that simply exchanged one form of colonial rule with another.
Some sold out to serve imperialism and line their own pockets at the same time. Those who refused to bend the knee were deposed like Sukarno of Indonesia or assassinated like Lumumba in the Congo. Genuine assistance came only from the Soviet Union, People’s China and the other people’s democracies, which has enabled some of the non-aligned forces that continue to rely on the masses for support to maintain their independence and socialist alignment.
This is a lesson that some people never seem to understand. Look at the Kurdish nationalist leaders who time and time again have put their trust in imperialism and their local lackeys, and refused to join hands with the progressive Arab movements in Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian popular-front government in Damascus accepted Kurdish autonomy in the north in 2012 whilst retaining control of the border crossings. Although relations with the central government began well, the Kurdish administration soon gravitated towards US imperialism. Their leaders foolishly believed that the Americans were their ‘only allies’ when Washington sent arms and military advisors to join them in the battle to drive ISIS out.
They decisively assisted the Americans in defeating ISIS. But now that they’ve served their purpose the Americans are moving out to make way for the Turks, who want to make northern Syria a buffer zone for their own auxiliaries.
The Turkish army originally moved into Syria to support the terror gangs fighting to overthrow the Assad government. Its secondary role was to create puppet militias of their own to contain the Syrian Kurdish drive for autonomy which, they feared, would provide a safe-haven for their compatriots fighting a guerrilla war in eastern Turkey.
Although the Turks and their lackeys proved powerless to halt the Syrian Arab Army that has driven the terrorists out of most of the country, they did succeed in driving a wedge between the eastern and western parts of the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Syria. Now, faced with renewed armed resistance in Turkish Kurdistan, they want complete control of Syria’s border lands to crush the Kurds’ ‘Rojova’ zone and any dreams of autonomy or independence.
Once again those on the pseudo-left who loudly proclaimed their support for the Kurdish struggle when it seemed to assist the broader aims of US imperialism in Syria are predictably silent in the face of Turkish aggression that has clearly been okayed in Washington.
Communists must stand by all the Syrian Arabs and Kurds fighting Turkish aggression. Most of all we defend the legitimacy of the elected popular front government of Bashar al Assad and its right to seek assistance from its friends, such as Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement. That assistance has helped the Syrian army’s victorious drive to crush the terrorists and restore democracy in Syria. And a Syria rid of terrorism will allow the people to again choose their own government and their own path in the future.