Thursday, 22 December 2016

Poland Under A Black Light -December 2016 and the Resurrected Spectre of a Martial Law.

'Over the past week, the Polish parliament controlled by the Law and Justice (PiS) party passed legislations dismantling the current primary education system, finalizing its overhaul of the country’s constitutional court, and de facto limiting the freedom of assembly. A chaotic night on Friday has both sides of the political conflict accusing each other of a coup d’etat. 

Since then, opposition lawmakers have been occupying the parliament’s main hall. Meanwhile, on the streets of the country’s cities, people have been protesting tirelessly nearly every day. The desperation is palpable: some protesters have been blocking politicians’ cars with their own bodies, while others are camping out in front of the parliament in the middle of Poland’s frigid December.'
  
Poland is in the Middle of an Existential Struggle over the Shape of its Democracy, Quartz , December 21 2016. 

The EU has yet again failed to act to do anything to prevent the slide of Poland towards something akin to Martial Law and a form of dictatorship. Poland was granted another two month deadline to scrap the politicised appointments to the Constitutional Tribunal that has set Poland back on the way to autocracy.

PiS has already simply ignored the EU and thus explicitly broken membership rules as regards preserving an independent judiciary and the separation of powers. The Foreign Ministry replied, in the manner of the most robotic and functionary styles of communique issued under the one party state of the old People's Republic
 "In connection with the appointment by the President of a new President of the Constitutional Tribunal on 21 December, we consider that the political dispute over the Tribunal has been ended. “In the face of these new facts, we consider the European Commission maintaining that there is a systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland is all the more unwarranted. We hope that our explanations will be understood by the European Commission”
This is the way PiS fanatics always end an argument-by a decree that it is sententiously declared over because, morally, they have actually lost the argument and know it. Unfortunately for them, this has dispute only just started. Unless, hoewever, they intend to 'end it' by iron martial law and by using force.

"Objective dialogue" is the usual refrain of these robotic functionaries and it is pure national-communist and Gierek era newspeak. What it means is that other opinions shall be listened to and the reality, as decreed by the new version of the People's Republic, shall not be altered by internal enemies defying its will.

Effectively, PiS is claiming that the political dispute has been ended by its politicisation of the judiciary, an absurd Kafkesque claim in line with the fundamental illogic that defines regime proclaimations, such as that on 21st December where the political protests were declared 'criminal and illegal'.

Indeed, it seems Poland under PiS has taken Kafka's The Trial as a set text as to how to inhabit a shadowy parallel reality where black is white, up is down and where dismantling the rule of law is legal so long as the Chairman of the Party decrees it as being so and his acolytes agree.

"We appeal to the opposition to return to a situation in which it accepts that law is binding," Kaczynski stated in a televisedpress conference along with his closest political functionaries. "We are facing an acceptance of actions that are of criminal character". This is Orwellian doublethink of the first order.

This, despite the fact that Kaczynski claimed that he was merely only an 'ordinary MP' for PiS. Naturally, Beata Szydlo, the supposedly 'official Prime Minister, was sitting to his side at the press conference. President Duda, a partisan PiSite, despite his official ceremonial role, also claimed he wanted to 'mediate'.

This is the usual PiS mechanism of asserting control. They take two steps forward, back down slightly, claim they are 'reasonable' and the opposition is not, while biding their time for the next attempt to chip away at Poland's constitutional democracy and push forward the same illegal agenda once more.

None of the decisions made by the Constitutional Tribunal in the 2016 were ever ratified. They are ratified only when they are officially published and Szydło, under orders from Kaczyński , the real figure in power, refused sign the order to publish them while claiming this was in harmony with new 'legal' norms. 

Events in Poland could end in blood, despite the commonly held belief that Poles would not kill Poles. Once the sinister language of reducing opponents to enemies has taken hold, a nation can become deeply polarised and fearful. Duda's rhetoric about 'real Poles' and those of a 'lesser sort' is part of it.

Deprived on any real enemies, PiS has had to neurotically conjure them up. The Russian threat has been way overblown by them for many years but in 2016 seems plausible.The German threat is not from nationalism but from its dominance of the EU and forcing imposed 'multi-culti' norms on the Polish nation.

PiS and Atavistic Fears.

The EU insistence on mandatory quotas on Poland, though it amounted to a mere 13,000 displaced refugees, hit a nerve: Poland has remained free from terrorism because it has virtually no immigrant communities from Muslim majority nations and until recently felt relatively free from that threat.

The migrant crisis of 2015 deeply unhinged much popular opinion in Poland, where ultranationalists regard as a bulwark against the twin threats of Russo-Bolshevik barbarism and Muslim terrorist migrant hordes aiming to colonise open spaces, not least in a steadily depopulating Poland, especially villages and provincial towns.

The 500+ zl reward for child bearing and the attempt to ban abortion is part of a nativist panic over low birth rates and a consequence of the mass emigration, another aspect of these disturbingly quick social dislocations the lumbering and technocratic EU never thought about in regard to V4 nations.

'Freedom of movement' in practice in 2004 meant mass emigration out as Poland's economy simply had not had the time to redevelop after the half a century of communist economic mismanagement. The failure of neoliberal policies was bound to create anger and a backlash against political liberalism.

The swing towards PiS in the elections of October 2015 reflected the fear of Merkel's botched and mismanaged 'open door' policy to migrants and refugees. But it also reflects the terror some Poles feel at the prospect of Poles, even 'real Poles', being replaced by others as young Poles continue to migrate West.

While many may have regretted voted PiS, and some PiS MEPs have suggested the inner PiS core elites have gone way too far and abused the trust of the Polish electorate, it could be that many will swallow their distate for his regime and trade off freedom for the sake of being completely secure.

But the fear is out of control. One PiS MP even suggested all alien elements within Poland ought to be forced to sign a document expressly agreeing that they accept 'Polish values', as defined by those such as her and the Party, or else face deportation. This applied not just to foreigners but also to Polish 'atheists'.

The Cultural War Against Enemies Within.

This has dovetailed with longer standing angers, grievances and Kaczynski's paranoid cultural battle. An entire nation is, in part, captive to the neurotic monomanias of Kaczynski, that he is Poland and, therefore, was deliberately sidelined from post-Solidarity politics in the 1990s.

PiS regime functionaries are, in a sense, political zombies, the political undead still incapable of moving on from the dark limited confines of national-communism in the 1970s and 1980s into the new light of freedom since 1990, when the Round Table Agreement between Solidarity and the the communists ended the regime.

So all that has happened since the Round Table Agreement is a betrayal, mistake and part of a continued communist regime in a new form. In habiting this bizarre parallel shadow reality, they are incapable of moving on like traumatized victims wanting to haunt those living now, vampires obsessed with vengeance and blood.

So the Solidarity struggle and its post-communist disappointments have morphed into a betrayal of the blood sacrifice of ' real Poles', one that that was never expiated by the blood of the victimisers and their 'collaborators', who now include everyone suspected of being secret Jews or crypto-communists.

This, of course, includes Solidarity hero Lech Walesa who is baselessly accused of being Agent Bolek in the 1970s, a secret communist police agent, as well as numerous others including the maligned former PO Prime Minister Donald Tusk whose father, a Kashub, is accused of collaborating with the Nazis.

In the primitive mindset of such ultranationalists, guilt is collective, just as reward and virtue depends on bloodlines too. a common charge amongst deranged ultranationalists is that Solidarity activist Adam Michnik was a Jew ( 'Adam Hechter' ) who avoided ZOMO attention in the 1981 struggle by wearing a kippah.

PiS has tappen into this by its history wars too, one where Jews are not 'real Poles', though tolerated at best if they behaved themselves, and so any provision of facts about the wartime NSZ partisan movement murdering Polish Jews is to be ignored through lauding them as 'cursed soldiers'.

PiS follows in the footsteps of partisan wartime movements that fought on after the official government-in exile and the AK forces downed arms after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 against the Nazis and as the Soviet regime moved in to take over a devastated and traumatised nation.

Yet it has tried to position itself as the only official inheritor of the AK and the NSZ militias, the militia formation that was, as Halik Kochanski pointed out in the Eagle Unbowed, 'rabidly antisemitic' and was prepared to turn over Jews hiding in the forests to the Gestapo.

The NSZ also was responsible for low grade ethnic cleansing through use of terror in the closing days of World War Two in order to finish off the job the Nazis had mostly completed for them in the extermination camps in Poland. Its partisans shot dead Jews escaping from Warschau KL  in their uniforms.

One reason for the lauding of the NSZ is that it fought both the Nazis and the Soviet Communist regime and their partisans. The murderous antisemitism is not only to be denied but its very mention, and that of post-war pogroms, conflated with a conspiracy to smear and slander the nation.

So apart from witch hunts against alleged 'collaborators' with communism and Nazism that are faked for political convenience is the attempt to use a manufactured outrage at the crude and insensitive use of the term 'Polish death camps' into a pretext to close down historical inquiry into Polish antisemitism.

The 'logic' behind this is to affect the belief that PiS and the ultranationalists it is prepared to mobilise on the streets are the 'real victims'. So any attempt to point out Polish misdeeds during World War two is another evil demonic plot to destroy its pride and just as much as criticising PiS policies in 2016 is.

Philosopher John Gray noted precisely the connection between the new 'illiberal' or, better, rise of toxic democracies' leading towards greater authoritarianism when he wrote,  in The Age of Hyper-Terrorism, about the connection between it and the attempt to control history and independent scholarship.
'The new Polish regime has gone further, altering beyond recognition institutions that were put in place in the country after the fall of communism. The political independence of the constitutional court, the judiciary and the civil service has been curtailed and pluralism in the media attacked. Echoes of a dark past can be heard in reports that the government is considering stripping Princeton’s distinguished, Polish-born Holocaust scholar Jan Tomasz Gross of the Order of Merit because he has noted the participation of parts of the Polish population in anti-Semitic mass murders during the years of Nazi occupation'. 
Kaczynski is obsessed with fake history and the idea of establishing the idea that the Smolensk Air crash of 2010 was yet another attempt by Russia to murder Poland's political elite and hand it over to collaborators. Tusk, who is actually an educated and professional historian, was absurdly accused of complicity.

The entire empty and barren life of Kaczynski, this horrible and ghoulish little person, is simply one vindictive hate crusade against everyone and everything that has thwarted his fanatical and narrow minded vision of what Poland was, is and will be under the Poland he should have dominated.

Kaczynski lives in an eerie 1986 time warp, unaware of computers, prices in shops etc. Time stopped for him long ago and that makes him dangerous. He is so obsessed with the idea history did not go his and his followers way that those who oppose him are simply to be removed from public life or downgraded.

At another level, the pathological victim and trauma complex embodied within PiS propaganda is politically useful in mobilising all those 'losers' from the post-communist transition. Those who feel victimised by unemployment, poverty and insecure job contracts blame 'the elites' for the scale of the betrayal.

Such disappointed expectations as to what it would deliver, a Poland as it was essentially but free from communist oppression, has given way to the idea that it was all part of a sinister transnational design to destroy the fibre of Polish nation, yet another means to destroy it through stealthier techniques of neo-colonialism.

This paranoid trope is one that unites PiS with Kukiz 15 and other political formation which all hold the they and 'Poland'-for they are Poland, of course-have been held back by mythical communists in a new guise, demonic 'cultural marxists' who repackaged themselves as liberals and the social-democratic left.

Kukiz, a former rock star, is far-right avant garde political activism for 21st century Polish youth, those  alienated by the bleak prospect of emigration or dead end or low salary jobs. 40% recently declared they had though about leaving. Kukiz referred to emigration as effectively another 'extermination' of the Polish nation.

The Smolensk Conspiracy plays its part here in bolstering this credo: the threat posed by PiS 'social justice' crusaders meant that they had to be taken out by a PO and Kremlin plot to destroy the authentic 'real Poles' from public life by plotting to down Lech's presidential plane in 2010.

State of Emergency: The Spectre of Martial Law Resurrected.

The danger is that every manifestation of protest against the PiS regime, including KOD, is going to be seen as an attempt to 'take them out', one reason the shrill PiS functionary Beata Mazurek hysterically claimed that the December protests in the Sejm were part of a plot to 'murder' them.

This is a frightening form of psychological projection: it amounts to claiming that all security precautions , including use of soldiers and national guards should be used to beat off the 'terrorist threat'. As with Erdogan's Turkey, terror attacks are being mendaciously conflated with domestic opposition.

Hence Szydlo's declaration of a state of emergency in the light of using the death of the Polish truck driver in the Berlin Christmas attacks as a pretext to push through security measures which could be used to target KOD and other street protester regarded as 'alien elements' and 'intruders'.

Szydlo has ordered military police to patrol the streets of Polish cities, until January 15 2017. By that time the watered down media laws and restrictions on public assembly could be rammed through as over Christmas PiS has seized control of the Constitutional Tribunal, after Rzeplinski's term ended.

Soldiers from Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw will have the power to intervene in criminal matters, to demand identification from members of the public, and to use firearms. No doubt, they can be used to push back protesters from the Sejm, at least to scale up the 'Poland in crisis' mood.

PiS are experts at watching events elsewhere and drawing what they consider 'legitimate prallels'. As France extended its state of emergency' in December, the Berlin Christmas attacks have confirmed the PiS line that it is not doing anything other European nations are not, despite the absence of Islamist threats.

Jarosław Zieliński, her deputy minister of internal affairs, has told the Senate "It has to do with what is happening at the moment in Warsaw; what is happening and has happened at the Sejm". This is proof of PiS linking KOD to 'terrorism' and as part of Kaczynski's accusation of 'criminal attacks'.

The potential for this crisis to escalate into another Ukrainian Euromaidan style winter of protest , as in 2013-2014, should not be discounted. Though not as divided as Ukraine, and without the West-East geopolitical tussle that forged a civil war there, a civil conflict is brewing.

A mass occupation of Warsaw could actually frighten PiS into overresponding. It would be unlikely until later in 2017 once the territorial army has been properly indoctrinated and trained by Macierewicz and his Defence Ministry into a force capable of crushing the 'enemy within'.

A Defence Ministry statement in April 2016 made plain the melding of Poland's volunteer battalions into a reserve army force was about combatting the Russian threat, Muslim intruders and what it referred to as 'anti-state activists'. There is no guarantee it would not be a PiS supporting militia force.

Moves have already been made to grant financial rewards to volunteer battalions which are designed, like the 500+zl bonus, to create a new Catholic fundamentalist and authoritarian-corporatist Poland of heroic mothers and fighters that is united under the 'visionary leader' Jaroslaw Kaczynski.


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Poland, December 2016 : The Deepening Crisis.

“Everybody sees that PiS has crossed a certain line and nothing will be the same any more,” Tomasz Siemoniak, deputy leader of the biggest opposition party Civic Platform said. The parliament was surrounded by hundreds of police, some of whom were carrying rubber bullet guns.
The useless EU seems powerless to do much to warn the PiS regime that if it should continue to chip away at destroying the pillars of Poland's democracy that there will be severe consequences. Neither the Venice Commission nor the EU Parliament seem to have much power to deter regime fanatics.

The huge danger for Poland in 2017 will be the continued fragmentation of the EU and the focus of most attention on Brexit, the French elections and the migrant crisis should Turkey open the floodgates once more. Kaczynski is no doubt playing for time and hoping he can exploit the EU crisis to impose regime power further.

Many in the West of Europe are largely unaware of the chilling fanaticism of PiS. It is not impossible that opposition protesters could be forcibly banned from freedom of assembly in future. The bill to prohibit this and allow only for public gatherings endorsed by state and church was only watered down at the last moment.

The Defence Minister, Antoni Macierewicz, has coordinated volunteer defence battalions in to a 'territorial army'. A defence ministry communique revealed that this reserve army was intended not only for use against 'the Russian threat' but also against Muslim threats and that posed by 'anti-state activists'.

Deploying an armed militia against protesters clearly would meet the definition of an authoritarian state akin to that of the national-communist regime of Gomulka and Gierek, one where ZOMO was unleashed upon those protested against it and where strikers were shot dead those armed with weapons.

The anti-communist credentials of the PiS regime are largely bogus, hence the systematic and paranoid attempt to smear former Solidarity leaders opposed to Kaczynski as 'collaborators'. The regime only detests the left-wing symbolism and ideology of the People's Republic; a far-right version of the same is preferred.

PiS is not, as the Western media keep casually repeating, a conservative government. It is a far-right radical clerico-authoritarian regime based on the idea it represents 'real Poles', a narrative undepinned by a retarded and infantile narrative of 'heroes' ( such as the dead Lech ) versus sneering 'traitors' such as Lech Walesa.

Central to this is the Orwellian rewriting of history during the communist period and that of Solidarity to emphasise the role of Kaczynskis beyond recognition and to airbrush out those who have opposed them. Sickly ideological fantasies are to be taught at 'fact' in history lessons at school just as under the People's Republic.

Kaczynski cannot call his primitive lunge for complete power as a revolutionary overthrow, though he might see it as a counter-revolution against 'cultural Marxists' and the PO and Nowoczesna, both bizarrely smeared as being 'communist' or 'left wing' contrary to the evident fact both are very far from being either.

The retarded political discourse within Poland's 'populist' right has all those not adhering to ultranationalist positions as being 'communist' as a way of marshalling the anger of those who have not benefitted enough from the post-communist transition. The neoliberal economic model has failed in Poland as elsewhere.

The leading opposition to PiS, other than the enfeebled liberal and liberal-conservative parties, comes from Kukiz 15, one that took the most youth votes in the October 2015 elections. Kukiz predictably blames the continued hardship and poverty on 'communists' and, of course, 'Jewish bankers' like George Soros.

Poland is returning in many ways to the style of politics that emerged in the 1930s, even down to the revival of antisemitism. Kukiz politicians have formed a body explicitly named after Roman Dwowski's Endecja: rather than looking east for the enemy, as PiS does as well as to Germany, it sees Russia as a future hope.

Far from being a new Pilsudski, Kaczynski has more in common with Gomulka. The difference this time is Poland is not even under the threat of foreign domination. Yet PiS continues, through its abject fear of the modern world, to seek the recreation of a Poland free from alien elements and devoted to Catholic fundamentalism.

In the fanatical pursuit of this deranged state, PiS has relentlessly demonised opposition as enemies and has shown it is prepared to be ruthless and aggressive in the process. Uncertainty and fear is hanging over this land and the picture is steadily getting darker by the day in this bleakest December of 2016.

The Fall of East Aleppo 2016 : Posturing and Positioning within Britain.

'While all the focus is now on Aleppo, we need to remember that nearly five million Syrians are living in other besieged and hard-to-access cities, towns and villages. Aid drops are urgently needed. Britain and other states with the capacity must act now.'
Peter Tatchell has not got a clue what he is talking about and is posturing. The crisis in Aleppo has been brewing a long time and only in the closing weeks of this bleak December of 2016 are Britain's MPs stamping their feet and emitting shrill rhetoric about the consequences of having not intervened back in 2013.

The reason is because the British political class has continually supported, in fact and deed, the intervention in Syria that actually has happened, through backing Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia's policy as early as 2012 of using the Sunni uprising to overthrow Assad. It was bound to develop into the brutal proxy war it became.

As the fall of east Aleppo is all but inevitable, aid drops by drone are effectively going to be hopeless. Tatchell's belief that Borisj Johnson is 'making excuses' simply misses the mark; transport aircraft would indeed get shot down. Russia has aerial dominance and has enforced an effective 'no-fly zone' over the city.

The time is not for accusations of war crimes connected to tribunals and punishments in advance of diplomatic talk by all the regional powers concerned. Britain is supporting Saudi Arabia in committing war crimes in Sanaa in Yemen. This atrocity is almost being screened out completely from the news in the West.

This indeed shows the selective humanitarianism of Britain's political class means that it gets little mention. Saudi Arabia has been rightly criticised by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but it seems hardly likely that many of his own cabinet or party would take any ethical initiative that went against the grain of US policy.

Even so, what Britain could be doing is ceasing all military assistance and all arms deals to Saudi Arabia pending a ceasefire there and its full commitment to diplomacy to resolve what is a regional proxy war between primarily Iran and the Gulf States, one undergirded by sectarian enmities whipped up by both.

None of the major regional powers would sit down to talks on the basis that in advance many of them are going to be later tried for war crimes. If Britain told Riyadh that it needs to make peace so that then its leading statesmen and the leaders of the militias it backed are going to be arrested, they will simply fight on.

Given that the US and Britain are complicit in supporting war crimes in Yemen, the US certainly would not agree and , anyway, President Obama's administration is on its way out and Donald Trump will be in office by late January 2017. There is just no realistic chance of waging a struggle on human rights grounds alone.

Tatchell's idea about sending in UN peacekeepers only could make sense after a peace has been forged, at least a durable ceasefire and commitment by all sides to end the proxy war. It is the backing of vying regional powers for geopolitical dominance-connected to energy routes- that is fuelling the continued carnage.

The idea observers would last more than a few days in war-torn regions of Syria is ludicrous. Either regime forces would prevent them moving around or jihadists would kidnap or murder them. Even independent journalists are not reporting from east Aleppo. It's virtually impossible as they would disappear quickly.

Britain ought to try is to align closer with Iran slightly just as to send the message to Saudi Arabia that its policy in Syria is no longer supported. Nor in Yemen. At least Obama started to move towards that position but neither Tatchell nor many MPs seem to understand how regional geopolitical strategy has actually 'worked'.

If MPs do understand, as Osborne probably does, the rhetoric about 'doing something' or the 'duty to intervene' back in 2013 is all about making Britain and themselves appear to have some moral highground and to absolve themselves from responsibility for the carnage they are responsible for helped having unleashed.

Britain has intervened in Syria by backing Saudi policy and 'Assad must go' instead of pursuing regional diplomacy. Whether the fall of Aleppo spells the end of the war is doubtful but as none of those who once encouraged the Sunni rebels now wants to back them, the gory endgame is the result consequently playing out.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Britain, East Aleppo and the Disintegration of the Liberal Interventionist World Order

'We are beginning to learn the price of not intervening'. George Osborne MP.


One of the most depressing aspects of the disintegration of the EU and the failure of liberal politics is the recourse not to blaming mediocre politicians and their serial incompetence, both at home and abroad, but in latching on to conspiracy theories to rationalise away precisely those failures at a time of undoubted crisis.

Ben Bradshaw, ranting in Parliament, claimed Russia was 'deliberately' bombarding Aleppo in order to worsen the refugee crisis and so to destabilise the EU. George Osborne bizarrely claimed that Britain's failure into 'intervene' had somehow helped create a world order in which both Russia and ISIS were both new twin threats.

Desperate to find any reason other than their own lack of vision and incompetence for the election of Trump and the EU referendum on Brexit, the shrill Bradshaw finds a scapegoat in Russia whose manipulation was “highly probable”. This sort of unproven conspiracy mongering shows a complete denial of reality.

For a start it plays into the hands of those who claim liberal democracy is so weak that it cannot resist the bias of RT or Kremlin subterfuge. The EU referendum vote was free and fair. There is no evidence UKIP has received funds from Moscow, though the West has funded oppositionist groups in ex-Soviet dominated lands.

As a consequence of continued Western meddling from both the EU and US in the affairs of states such as Ukraine and Georgia for example, it is hardly surprising that fervent Atlanticists and liberal interventionists such as Bradshaw project such motives on to the Kremlin as a way of diverting attention from Western failures.

The most obvious examples, apart from the domestic failure of neoliberal economic policies in nations both West but especially in the East-hence the mass exodus West-is in foreign policy. George Osborne laments the failure to intervene in 2013 as somehow 'causing' the consequences of the bombing of Aleppo now.

Yet this airbrushes out from perception the fact that had Assad been removed by air strikes in 2013, jihadists would have taken over most of Syria and caused a far worse bloodbath than the one reaching its gory endgame in east Aleppo. The 'moderate rebels' were a geopolitical fiction even back in 2013 and remain so in 2016.

The only way to have averted he Aleppo tragedy and the hypocritically downplayed and unmentionable one going on in Sanna in Yemen at present, courtesy of UK backed Saudi airstrikes, would have been to stand up to Saudi backing for jihadist forces in Syria and have pushed for diplomatic solutions in 2013.

There was never any realistic chance in the context of a brutal civil war with a strong sectarian element of enmity driving it, one backed by regional players as part of a proxy war for advantage over the other, that any one side could be the outright winner, other than Assad who controlled a 'functioning' state and army.

The botched intervention in Libya in 2011 simply repeated the mistakes of Iraq. The country is even worse than it was when Gaddafi ruled it. Syria would have been dominated by ISIS had Assad been knocked out as part of 'regime change'. Putin prevented that from happening and now seeks to finish off the rebels for good.

Denunciations of Russian attacks on Aleppo as a 'New Guernica' is savvy 'public diplomacy' that advertises 'our values'. Yet US and UK missiles and bombs are killing casualties in Iraq. ISIS is using human shields in Mosul as the Iraqi army strafes and bombs it; and jihadi groups in east Aleppo are dying precisely the same.

The only moral high ground comes from the idea that ISIS is ISIS and there are no 'moderates' among them. Effectively, there are few if any 'moderates' left over from the original FSA in Aleppo. If they cared so much for the civilian population, the time of the ceasefire would have been the best time to compromise.

However, the jihadists in east Aleppo vowed to 'fight to the last drop of blood'. Partly, this is because it is claimed Assad would give no quarter and no mercy. Other reports claim that there are plans to provide an exit route form them outwards towards Idlib along with civilians trapped in the beleaguered city

Alleviating the civilian misery in Aleppo is one thing that could still be achieved through diplomacy. Yet using airpower to drop supplies would cause problems with Russia in those crowded skies : it effectively has a 'no-fly zone' above it and, other than plans for drones to drop aid, using transport aircraft is almost impossible.

Certainly, British MPs could do something to tell the government to stop supporting the massacre of Sanaa.The US has already indicated that it wants to halt the supply of some arms to saudi Arabia, but that would appear yet more 'public diplomacy' designed to make it seem distant from the slaughter it is backing there.

All this posturing in Parliament is choreography. There is no real debate but just point making and positioning. Osborne cannot give any real sense as to how intervention ( i.e RAF bombing ) could have prevented this bombing by Russia now other than by committing Britain to another war such as Libya ( which failed )

Osborne claims east Aleppo is what happens as a consequence of not intervening, hoping all memory of what happened when Britain did could be erased by sententious moral rhetoric. But Britain did intervene. Britain helped cause this catastrophe, though, by intervening in the proxy war by supporting Saudi policy.

It did this from the outset of the uprising then turning into a civil war between Sunnis ranged against Assad because of the continued delusion that removing a secular dictator, not least one close to Russia and Iran, would ingratiate Britain with its Sunni Gulf allies in the region-all autocracies.

The idea that circles could be squared by having undemocratic Sunni Arab states back democracy in other lands, against secular dictators that once had aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, shows the utter lack of ethical realism on behalf of Britain's discredited political class.

Neither Russia nor Iran were going to sit back and watch Assad simply knocked out. Nor were Qatar and Saudi Arabia going to be effective sponsors of democracy in Syria where their geopolitical interests were paramount in what was clearly a proxy war even as early as 2012.