It’s Time To Talk About The S-300s, “Status Symbols”, And The “Savior Complex”

Russia’s dispatch of S-300s to Syria was meant to distract from last September’s tragedy and wasn’t intended to be a “game-changing” military development by any means, but the systems have since taken on a cult-like following all across Alt-Media because there are plenty of people afflicted with a “savior complex” who project their political fantasies onto these “status symbols”.

Yet Another Reality Check 

“Israel’s” bombing of Aleppo last week and the much-touted S-300s’ failure to once again respond to this aggression was a rude reminder that those systems are nothing more than “status symbols” for Syria onto which the Alt-Media Community has projected its political fantasies that are strongly inspired by the “savior complex” that many of its members suffer from.

The “Open Secret” Exposed 

Russia’s dispatch of these air-defense systems was meant to serve the immediate purpose of distracting from the tragedy last September when a Syrian missile accidentally downed one of its spy planes due to a reckless midair tactical evasive maneuver by an “Israeli” jet that resulted in one of the most notorious “friendly fire” incidents in recent memory.

That explosive event immediately drew attention to the biggest “open secret” of contemporary Mideast geopolitics, the Russian-“Israeli” alliance that had hitherto allowed the self-professed “Jewish State” to bomb suspected Iranian and Hezbollah targets with impunity over 200 times in the preceding 18 months by the Russian Ministry of Defense’s own official acknowledgement in the days after the accident.


As obvious as this state of military-strategic affairs was for all objective observers to discern prior to the incident, it was nevertheless the epitome of “political incorrectness” among the members of the Alt-Media Community because it meant that the state that constitutionally regards itself as “the beating heart of Arabism (at) the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy” had invited a foreign military force into its territory that “passively facilitates” its Zionist enemy’s incessant strikes against its Iranian and Hezbollah allies in the country.

This paradox is explained by the fact that Russian grand strategy is to “balance” between multiple pairs of rival states all across Eurasia and is nowadays pursuing Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria as part of that policy, something that Syrian decision makers were either unaware of before Moscow’s 2015 anti-terrorist intervention or silently accepted as a “necessary compromise” that could be “dealt with later” after the immediate threat of an impending Daesh takeover of the country was thwarted.

Whatever the case may be, the Russian-“Israeli” alliance is an ultra-sensitive issue both for Syrian domestic politics and Moscow’s soft power projection all throughout the Mideast, hence why neither of them officially acknowledged it and actively sought to downplay it whenever possible.

The Ultimate Narrative Distraction 

That became impossible to do after the mid-September tragedy, hence why Russia felt compelled to tell the world about the true state of its military-strategic affairs with “Israel” in order to underscore what a betrayal of trust the reckless midair tactical evasive maneuver was which ultimately led to the death of its servicemen.

Even so, both Russia and Syria knew that they quickly had to “save face” and return to pretending that this wasn’t the case in order to save their soft power appeal and domestic political legitimacy respectively, hence the highly publicized dispatch of S-300s which immediately distracted from the Mideast’s biggest “open secret” and succeeded in changing the entire discourse on what happened.

Instead of dwelling on what the world was led to believe was the “former” Russian-“Israeli” alliance that Tel Aviv had “inadvertently ruined” as a result of the tragedy that it was partly responsible for, the Mainstream and Alternative Medias both started obsessing over the supposed “game-changing” implications of Syria’s impending acquisition of the S-300s that people were led to believe would ensure that its neighbor would never carry out any more strikes against Iranian or Hezbollah forces in the country.

Debunking The S-300 Myth 

That wasn’t to be the case, though, since “Israel” has in fact hit such targets several times since then and the S-300s failed to respond in each instance, which wasn’t accidental but actually part of the plan all along.

Barely anyone will publicly acknowledge it because of how sensitive the issue is for so many vested interests of all sorts, but Russia never intended to stop “Israel’s” strikes after the tragedy — let alone pull out of its military-strategic alliance with the self-professed “Jewish State” — and only wanted to undertake a symbolic “face-saving” move for both itself and its Syrian partner due to the previously mentioned reasons of soft power and domestic political legitimacy, respectively.

It’s not for naught that “Syrian” S-300s are still being manned by Russian forces under the pretext of training their in-country counterparts, thereby rendering it impossible for Damascus to take any independent decision on their use against “Israel” for the time being and thus indefinitely perpetuating the “secret” military-strategic state of affairs that has been in effect since the beginning of the 2015 anti-terrorist intervention.

Even in the event that Russia eventually transfers full and independent control of these systems to Syria, it’s extremely unlikely that Damascus will use them because “Israel” already signaled that it’s tracking the S-300s and knows where they are at all times after it “leaked” satellite photos of them to the press in February.

Syria knows that wielding the S-300s in battle without offering them the proper protection with Pantsir and other complementary short- and medium-range systems would be suicidal since it would all but guarantee that they’d be destroyed by “Israeli” cruise missiles or drones before they ever had a chance to fire on the incoming warplanes, leave alone the devastating disproportionate punishment that “Israel” would inflict on Syria in the unlikely event that the S-300s actually succeeded in downing one of its aircraft.

These “politically inconvenient” military facts are noticeably left out of Alt-Media’s “analyses” on this topic either due to ignorance or deliberate omission, therefore making the S-300s nothing more than an expensive and heavily publicized “status symbol” that’s gathering sand and dust sitting in the desert doing nothing other than possibly preparing to be rolled out in a future military parade, but awareness of this reality raises the important question of why so many people are in a state of clear cognitive dissonance and still remain convinced to this day that these systems actually altered the previous dynamics when the incontrovertible evidence is that they haven’t had any effect whatsoever.

The “Savior Complex” 

Regrettably, this can be attributed to the so-called “savior complex” that many people in the “Global South” exhibit symptoms of, especially those in countries where the US is responsible for their suffering.

It’s certainly not exclusive to the “Global South” since many well-intentioned people in the West also show signs of it too, though that category of people are doing so more as a political statement of anti-state dissent than anything else.

The complex itself is actually simple to understand and it’s that some people believe that an outside force will save them from their suffering and restore justice to the world, with this being most famously conceptualized by the image of a “knight in shining armor on a white horse” riding in to “save the day” and “slay the dragon” before it kills the “defenseless princess”.

The “Knight”, The “Dragon”, And The “Princess”

Russia — and especially President Putin — is nowadays regarded by many as the “knight in shining armor on a white horse” while the US and/or “Israel” are seen as the “dragon”, with Syria or any other victimized (usually “Global South”) country being the “defenseless princess” and the S-300s being the “sword” that many expect will “save the day”.

This simplistic conceptualization is actually nothing more than the projection of Alt-Media’s political fantasies because the “inconvenient” reality is altogether different if one recalls the insight that was revealed earlier in the analysis.

The “knight in shining armor on a white horse” isn’t riding in to “save the day” by “slaying the dragon” and rescuing the “defenseless princess”, but has actually allied with the “dragon” to “kill” the “defenseless princess’” other “suitor” that they both regard as a “threat”.

To complete the metaphor in a contemporary political context, Russia is working hand-in-hand with “Israel” to shape the military-strategic conditions that could lead to Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria because they both regard its expanding presence there as a “threat” to their interests.

The Syrian “princess”, however, doesn’t want to get rid of her other “suitor” (or at least not yet) because she’s not ready to “marry” her “knight in shining armor on the white horse”, partly because she understands the benefits that could be derived from having the two “compete” for her but also because she feels very uncomfortable with the “knight’s” alliance with the fearsome “dragon” and can’t be sure that he won’t partner with it again in order to get whatever else he might want from her in the future.

Still, she might ultimately have no choice if the “knight” and “dragon” “kill” her other “suitor”, leaving her without any other option than to accept her fate while hoping that the worst of her suffering is over and that she’ll be safe from here on out.

Far From A Fairy Tale 

Returning to the contemporary political context, Syria has been trying to “balance” between its Russian and Iranian Great Power patrons, but Russia attempted a game-changing move by allying with “Israel” in order to remove its “friendly competitor” there, though the grand strategic designs of the Russian-“Israeli” alliance have yet to succeed in having that happen since Syria still refuses to submit to the pressure of requesting Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from the country.

Not only does Syria want to avoid the strategic uncomfortableness of becoming totally dependent on Russia if it does, but Damascus also wonders whether Moscow would then team up with Tel Aviv once more in order to pressure it into surrendering its claims to the Golan Heights by accepting the questionable clauses contained in the Russian-written “draft constitution”.

Still, Syria might ultimately have no choice if Russia “passively allows” “Israel” to impose such enormous costs on it for refusing to request Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from the country, leaving it without any other viable options than to accept what might be a geopolitical fait accompli while hoping that the strikes will stop and that it won’t have to surrender the Golan next.

Lost amidst this drama of “knights”, “dragons”, “princesses”, and unspoken-of “suitors” is the “sword” that’s supposed to “save the day”, and that’s the S-300s that Russia, “Israel”, and Syria have tacitly relied upon to distract from the true state of geostrategic affairs vis-a-vis Iran (each for their own reasons), and which has captivated the Alt-Media Community’s imagination because of its predisposition to the “savior complex”.

Concluding Thoughts

The S-300 “fairy tale” enchanted many the first time that it was told back in September, but the several times that this “mythical” weapon failed to deter or respond to subsequent “Israeli” strikes since then seems to have finally caused some in the Alt-Media Community to question whether this was all just a “tall tale” and one that they fell for because of the “savior complex” taboo that few of them acknowledge even exists.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.