As I see it: Putin and the West’s moral vacuum

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and armed forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov observe troops during a training exercise  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and armed forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov observe troops during a training exercise
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Any lingering doubt about the lethal weakness of America and the West has been brutally shot down in the skies above Syria.
Russia’s President Putin sent in his warplanes ostensibly to bomb ISIS but actually, it seems, to bomb more moderate opponents of Syria’s President Assad, including CIA-trained rebels.
Putin thus well and truly rubbed President Obama’s nose in American impotence. The Russian leader is now making the immensely dangerous running in Syria. Blindsided America is reduced to scrabbling frantically in his slipstream.
Putin is ruthless and focused. Allying with Assad and the Iranian regime that pulls his strings, the Russian leader can pose – however preposterously – as the potential savior of the world from the Islamist specter that terrifies the West.
By contrast, America and Britain are wildly flailing around. Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron say both ISIS and Assad must be defeated. But although they are taking ineffectual military action against ISIS, they won’t attack Assad.
Instead, Obama has been reduced to pleading with Putin to restrain Assad’s worst excesses.
But to topple Assad requires defeating the Iranian regime – which the US and UK have just empowered still further by capitulating over its nuclear program and gifting it billions in trade deals.
This was all supposed to neutralize Iranian bellicosity. But some of those billions will be used to shore up Assad. No wonder Putin’s contempt for America is palpable.
It is a commonplace that power abhors a vacuum. As is painfully obvious, this latter-day Russian czar is merely filling the empty space left by the retreat of Obama’s America from its historic role as freedom’s defender.
But this vacuum goes far wider and deeper than Obama. It has resulted from the longterm cowardice, arrogance and moral confusion of the West.
For decades, Islamists have been pursuing a twin-track agenda to conquer and Islamize the non-Islamic or not-Islamic-enough world.
One track uses cultural invasion and takeover; the other uses violence and terrorism. The West has empowered both of them.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s principal agent of Islamic conquest, is run by a brutal and barbaric regime. There is currently outrage at its plan to behead and crucify a political dissident, Ali Mohammed al Nimr.
But what is the point of such protest given that British and American hands are deep in Saudi money? For sure, the balance between potential harm and benefit means that deals must sometimes be done with unsavoury regimes. Israel, for example, is reportedly allying with Saudi Arabia against Iran.
This, however, is a move born of desperation.
Israel is forced to form alliances wherever it can just to survive. It has been hung out to dry by America, and is being blackmailed by its supposed European allies to compromise its security with Palestinians out to destroy it.
Those western allies have empowered not only terrorist Iran but also Saudi Arabia. In Britain and America, the Saudis have been allowed unhindered to fund extremist mosques and university departments of Islamic studies peddling a sanitised account of Islam.
Grotesquely, Britain’s Ministry of Justice has negotiated a £5.9 million training contract with – of all things – the Saudi prison service, under which British officials presumably propose to help Saudi Arabia jail, flog, stone, amputate, behead and crucify people even more efficiently and effectively.
Worse still is the elevation of the Saudi envoy to the UN Human Rights Council to head its committee dealing with global human rights standards. This obscene appointment was actually welcomed by the Obama administration.
And reportedly Britain did a vote-trading deal with Saudi Arabia to ensure that both countries gained seats on the UNHRC in the first place for the 2014-2016 term.
The UNHRC itself is a sick joke. Dominated by human rights abusers, it rarely acts against tyrannies but instead repeatedly and mendaciously bashes Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East.
The UNHRC thus effectively condones violence around the world and abandons or punishes its victims. Yet by being members, the UK and US underwrite its legitimacy.
The West never challenges the UNHRC’s patently corrupted authority. That’s because western liberals are blinded by shibboleths such as internationalism, their hatred of Israel and their worship of anti-normative, anti-western “human rights” doctrine.
The result is that the West has got almost everything about the Muslim and Arab world totally wrong. Refusing to grasp the nature and global ambition of the Islamist onslaught, the West has unleashed chaos abroad and empowered those who would destroy it at home.
But its culpability goes back much further. It has been excusing, condoning and incentivizing Arab terror for the best part of a century.
In the 1930s, Britain reneged on its international treaty obligation to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Worse still, it proposed giving part of the Jews’ entitlement to the Arabs in a fruitless attempt to buy off their attempt to expel the Jewish presence from the land.
This original “two-state solution” effectively rewarded and incited aggression and punished its victims. Britain, America and the EU continue those perverse incentives to this very day by their resolute whitewashing of Palestinian incitement to murder Israelis and steal their land – the real reason why the Arab war against Israel is a conflict without end.
The reason the BDS movement and EU boycotts of Israel have taken hold is that the so-called allies of Israel refuse to tell the world that Palestinian identity is bogus and was invented solely to get gullible westerners to support the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their own ancestral homeland.
By failing to expose the Big Lies about Israel, the West is complicit in both the rise of anti-Jewish bigotry at home and the paranoid hysteria against Israel and the Jews coursing through the Arab and Muslim world.
The paralysis of the West in the face of the chaos in the Middle East and the mass exodus of people from the developing world is causing some to predict the collapse of Europe (and the US isn’t immune from this cultural tsunami either).
The real issue, though, is not so much mass migration as moral collapse. And anti-Jewish attitudes are at the very core of that collapse.
The West followed its perpetration of and complicity in the Holocaust with an onslaught against the Mosaic laws at the root of western civilization. Those ethical codes were dumped in favor of self-gratification. Belief in western superiority over other cultures was replaced by moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism and defeatism.
Both Obama and the British Labour party’s new unashamed Marxist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, are regarded by critics as some kind of aberration. They are not. They are merely extreme exemplars of the liberal mindset which is now bringing the West to its knees.
Jews are understandably wary of making themselves the center of anyone else’s story.
But they are inescapably at the epicenter of the West’s convulsions. The West will only save itself if it finally grasps that to do so it needs fully to embrace Israel and the Jewish story.
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Times (UK).