Here Are The Winners and Losers of the Soft Power Battle in The Aftermath of Western Attack on Syria

The Soft Power Winners 

Syria/Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian President along with the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian people as a whole have already justifiably cultivated the “David versus Goliath” narrative and for good reason. Syria has since 2011, been under hybrid and often traditional forms of military attack from “Israel”, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and others. In spite of coming under attack from the most heavily armed power in the region, a military superpower, the richest nations in the Arab world and the most militarised nations of Europe, Syria has managed not only to survive the onslaught, but to continue and liberate its territory from foreign sponsored terrorist occupation.

In shooting down 71 out of 103 missiles from the US, UK and France, the Syrian narrative of almost divine survival against all odds has been strengthened many fold. In this sense, Syria has scored a soft-power victory that is equally if not more impressive than its military victory.

Turkey/Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

Many have tried to categorise Turkey as a state which will either be fully allied with the west or fully allied with the wider Eurasian world. Others simply say that Turkey is lying to both west and ‘east’. In reality, Turkey under Persident Erdogan has demonstrated its ability to act independently while still being able to engage constructively with all sides. Of course, Turkey has recently engaged in far stronger relations with Russia and other ‘eastern’ partners vis-a-vis an increasingly politically hostile Europe and a US that is threatening Turkish security by arming PKK aligned radical Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria. In spite of this, Turkey has not taken a ‘new side’, but instead is asserting its independence more vigorously than in previous decades.

Prior to the strikes, the Turkish President, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister criticised the brinkmanship of both the US and Russian superpowers while President Erdogan attempted to mediate in the crisis with phone calls to both the Russian and American presidents. In spite of having different views to Syria and Russia in respect of  the events in Douma, Turkey remained opposed to further escalation. After the strikes, Turkey said that the attack which did limited material damage was ultimately justified as it sent an important “message” to the Syrian government, but Ankara nevertheless failed to join in any pan-NATO self-congratulatory propaganda. Furthermore, Turkish officials apparently did not allow any strikes to be conducted from NATO jets on Turkish soil. In this sense, Turkey remained above the fray of the crisis, while showing both political independence of all parties to the present crisis, in addition to demonstrating a calm diplomatic approach to mediation. Turkey’s role in mediating a Russia-US stand-off should neither be written off nor underestimated.

Furthermore, President Erdgoan who remains one of the most successful politicians in the world and cultivating and sustaining a base, can now point all of this out to his supporters in a message that can be reduced to: ‘The west is violent and undiplomatic, Russia is cunning but indecisive, The Resistance are fanatical and only Turkey is moderate in its aims and powerful in its message’. Domestically, this message will sell very well.

Iran/Hezbollah 

For the soft-power of Iran, Hezbollah and the wider Islamic Resistance, the events over the last several hours in Syria have been a kind of “I told you so moment”. Tehran and Resistance parties in Beirut have consistently painted the US as irrational, violent, untrustworthy and overtly pro-Zionist. The strikes affirmed the truth of this message for all those still seeking confirmation. Furthermore, a narrative that is present on many pro-Iran and Resistance social media circles states that Russia’s balancing strategy in the Middle East means that Moscow is a less reliable ally of the wider resistance axis than Iran. As Russia did not intercept a single missile nor strike at western forces during the attack (as promised owning to no Russian assets being targeted), this part of the Resistance narrative has been vindicated through the traditional social media soft-power circles.

The US military-industrial complex/Neocons

In demonstrating a willingness to disregard international warnings and unleash missile strikes near Russia and Iranian assets, the neocons and other champions of the US military-industrial complex may not have achieved a great deal of strategic success in the strike itself, but in showing a willingness to display good old fashioned neocon aggression, the portion of US society that favours such an approach will feel not only vindicated but validated.  John Bolton does have his domestic supporters, as odd as that sounds to an international audience, and today they will feel largely contented.

The Losers 

Donald Trump

Much of Donald Trump’s domestic base remains supportive of his campaign promises to withdraw US troops from foreign military adventures while also having a particular soft-spot for Syria due to the widely acknowledged fact among Trump supporters that the Syrian Arab Republic has been successful in fighting Takfiri terrorist groups (or as Trump calls them “Radical Islamic Terrorists”) such as al-Qaeda and Daesh. Many prominent Trump supporters in US media including Alex Jones, Michael Savage, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter have indicate they may withdraw their support for Trump in the future. The ricochet across pro-Trump social media has also been palpable with a majority of those on the so-called ‘Trump train’ questioning their own support for the US President.

Russia 

While Russia succeeded in its strategic goal of protecting Russian assets in Syria, avoiding a wide-scale ‘shock and awe’ style assault on Syria and got to showcase the broad success rates of old Soviet weapons going up against modern NATO weapons, in terms of soft power, Russian prestige took a hit. The wider Resistance movement’s questioning of Russia’s “loyalty” to its traditional (key word) partners in the Middle East has rapidly intensified while even many in Russophile western alternative media have criticised Russia’s “non-response” to a clear challenge to Russian power, as defined by Donald Trump in a now infamous Tweet.

While Russia continues to expose the west for justifying its invasion on a self-evident false flag chemical attack, for many in the wider Russian world, Moscow has displayed weakness in a moment where the current Russian leadership could have channelled the attitudes of previous leaders including Tsar Alexander III, Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. Russia will now have to work hard to undo this soft power damage.

Britain and France 

While the French President needed and still needs a distraction from his highly unpopular labour reforms and parliamentary reforms and while the UK Prime Minister’s name is now a byword for failure, France and Britain both showed that they are neither one thing nor the other. While the deep states of both countries are if anything more imperialistic and aggressive than the US, they cannot pull off any meaningful military moves without the United States. This is even more true now than it was 30 years ago – and it was true then.

Meanwhile, with many in France aghast at former President Nicholas Sarkozy being exposed by French police for seeking the destruction of Libya because of fraudulently obtained campaign funds from Tripoli and with many also remembering former President Chirac’s gallant opposition to the 2003 war on Iraq, Macron appears more and more to be an emperor without clothes. In Britain, in spite of attempts to portray opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as some sort of traitor for not supporting war, recent polls have shown that most people in the UK shared Corbyn’s distaste for military conflict as well as his mild approach to the chaos of the Middle East.

The Soft Power Neutral

“Israel” 

The “Israeli” regime’s opposition to Syria is widely known. Syria and “Israel” have been enemies since the 1940s while Syrian territory has been partly occupied by “Israel” since 1967. Therefore it is clear that “Israel’s” public support of the strikes is sincere, not least because “Israel” conducted its own strikes against Syria just days ago. However, “Israel” also does not want to ‘rock the boat’ of the current status quo too much because if the pro-Zionist neocons in the US did in fact launch a wider global war due to asymmetrical aggression against Syria, a domino effect of instability in the region could trigger all of “Israel’s” many enemies to wage a war of liberation in occupied Palestine. Tel Aviv’s officials are aware of this and therefore, while they still seek to weaken Syria, they also know that a wider regional or global conflict could trigger a domino effect that could blow-back and harm Tel Aviv’s own self-interested mechanism of militarised survival.

The one area where “Israel” has lost the soft-power narrative is in the country it seeks to influence the most, the United States. Syria’s constitution is literally anti-Zionist while “Israel” is the most anti-Arab Nationalist regime in the world. For pro-“Israel”/anti-Palestine Trump supporters to come out in favour of Syria, including those in the alt-right US media, it demonstrates that “Israel” has lost control of the wider narrative in the US, as people who overtly support “Israel” are now also overtly supporting “Israel’s” sworn enemy Bashar al-Assad. This will have significant implications in futures years of Amero-Zionist politics.

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