Seems only a few weeks ago our corporate media were singing as one from the anti-Putin hymnal; PUTIN'S AGGRESSION MUST BE STOPPED and similar foolishness dominated the news platforms of the West. Take a tour of those platforms today, and you'll notice a not-so-subtle shift. Sure, we must remain wary of Putin, but...
What's changed? Within a matter of weeks, myriad news sites in the West have discovered hope for a resolution of the Syrian nightmare. After America and her largely imaginary coalition had been bombing Islamic State (quite illegally) for over a year, Russia, at the invitation of the legitimate government of Syria, moved in to lend a helping hand.
The Russians are flying more sorties on any given day than the US coalition managed in any given month. They are systematically destroying the ISIS oil export business which was their primary source of revenue, and which was, in spite of all the rhetoric, untouched by a year of US bombing.
That business was off-limits for the Americans because they wanted to spare the sensitivities of the Turks. The Erdogan regime has been up to its neck in training, supplying, and supporting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Islamic State from before day one. It is widely suspected that the IS oil export trade has been facilitated by members of Recip Erdogan's own family.
That's a family dynasty steeped in multiple levels of irony, is it not? One could hardly imagine anything else for the only Islamic member of the NATO gang. Ponder that awhile...
Meanwhile, Russian diplomatic activity has ramped up to an unprecedented level. Putin has gone out of his way to have face-to-face discussions with every major player in the Middle East, from Netanyahu to Obama, from Erdogan to Hollande, from the House of Saud to the king of Jordan. The beltway Masters of the Universe should pay more attention. Putin is putting on a master class in how diplomacy is done. Washington will wake up one day soon to discover that their allies in the Middle East all, and I mean every single one of them, trust Russia more than they trust America.
America is of course completely under the spell of the election cycle. As the most exceptional among nations this may be inevitable; after all, what shapes America will shape the planet, or at least that's what we've become accustomed to believing since history ended. It may therefore be good news that Trump has said he believes he can talk to Putin.
I believe he can too. In fact, I believe that after their talk Mr. Trump will announce a Trump Tower in Moscow and a Trump Golf Links in Sochi!
Today Putin is in Iran. That's a country that's been a pariah in the eyes of the West ever since they kicked out the Shah we gifted them. That gift too is not without its residual ironies. We've long been programmed to see Iran as a backward theocracy, motivated by nothing more than irrational Jew-hate to wipe the Holy Land off the map and so on.
Sure... but in the meantime, they just opened the most mind-boggling show of degenerate modern art at the Tehran Museum of Modern Art, just in time for Putin's visit.
They got Rothko.
They got Pollock.
They got Warhol and Bacon and so much more! Turns out they've got one of the most valuable state-owned modern art collections on the planet!
Don't take my word for it; that's the assessment of former Guggenheim curator Germano Celant.
Savour the ironies!