Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

US Headed For “China Syndrome” Meltdown in Syria

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The president is in fact apologizing for the CIA’s loss of control over ISIS.”

You know that an American military adventure is going very badly when the conversation turns to the “mistakes” of U.S. intelligence agencies. Usually, Washington starts scapegoating its spies after its wars have failed to achieve their objectives – as happened in Iraq, when the natives failed to greet the American invaders with rose petals and bottomless gratitude, and in Vietnam, where the awesome U.S. war machine slaughtered three million people but still could not subdue a Third World country’s quest for independence. America files all of its failures under the heading of “mistakes” – after the fact.But, President Obama has essentially inaugurated his bombing campaign in Syria with an admission of past “mistakes,” telling 60 Minutes that the CIA “underestimated” the strength of ISIS. What Obama’s admission actually shows is that the real U.S. mission in Syria – the three-year proxy war to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad – is already a failure.

Obama has thus been forced, by failure, to mount a far more conventional – although equally illegal – air war in a desperate bid to rescue his original mission of regime change. The president is in fact apologizing for the CIA’s loss of control over ISISand the other jihadists that Obama and his Arab and Turkish allies sent to bring chaos to Syria. Obama thought his intelligence services could calibrate and control the bloodbath they had spent billions to inflict on Syria; that they could regulate and direct the Islamist fighters’ death-embracing furies, like a well-engineered nuclear reactor. Instead, and inevitably, what Obama and his allies got was a meltdown, a China-Syndrome of holy war that has left Washington’s regime-change-by-proxy scheme in ashes.

U.S. imperialism has been deeply and irrevocably weakened by the revolt of the jihadists.”

Much of the Left in the United States is also suffering from a kind of “intelligence” deficit, failing to understand the magnitude of the crisis now confronting U.S. imperialism in the Arab and Muslim world. Washington’s jihadist foot soldiers have struck out on their own mission. Not only does the U.S. have no force to replace these Islamist warriors, it must now kill enough of them to retain some imperial authority in the region – but not so many as to ignite a general jihad against America and its allies. Plus, under these new and infinitely more complex conditions, Obama must also find a way to bring down the Syrian government.

U.S. imperialism has been deeply and irrevocably weakened by the revolt of the jihadists, which is the logical and predictable result of U.S. policy in the region since the overthrow of President Mubarak in Egypt and the bombing of Libya. In fact, I did predict it, back in February of 2011. No matter what the United States does, the crisis will deepen, directly threatening the viability of the Arab monarchies on which the West depends to control the price and availability of oil.

However, just because the U.S. has no good options, doesn’t mean it has no options at all. Superpowers always have options; they have the immense ability to destroy things: for example, Damascus, the capital of Syria, could be obliterated. But such a crime would be evidence of the weakness, not strength, of U.S. empire.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at




Direct download: 20141001_gf_ObamaISISmistakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm EDT