A series of complex events - the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Ankara, a truck driven through a Christmas market in Berlin, a 7 year old suicide bomber in Damascus. Incomprehensible violence here and there. Almost seems to be a prelude to something which we cannot yet grasp.
At Alternet I have a report on the Moscow meeting of Iran, Russia and Turkey. The report goes over the pivot by Turkey (which I have written about before), why no Syrians were at the table (and nor any Americans) and what this will mean for a Syria broken by this long war. It is important to see this meeting as one more sign of the shift from US unipolarity to a kind of multipolarity. The Geneva meetings will no longer be held in Switzerland. They will now be held in Astana. It is to be seen how effective this new dialogue will be to bring some openings for Syria and the Syrian people.
The report comes around the sixth anniversary of the Arab Spring:
- What began six years ago in Tunisia as a civic uprising and earned the name ‘Arab Spring’ is now ghoulish—a brutal war prosecuted by Saudi Arabia and armed by the West against Yemen, the horrifying carnage in Syria, and the suffocation of hopes in Egypt. A pall of gloom hangs over West Asia and North Africa—a glance backward at the pile of corpses and a glance forward at that pile mirrored to infinity. Expectation that a meeting in Moscow can sort the tragedies out is low. It is enough to hope for a ceasefire.
You can read the rest of the report here.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has begun to appoint his cabinet. It is a cabinet of military and money, with - as I say in my new Frontline column - at least '30 times more than the net worth of the men and women in George W. Bush’s Cabinet'. The takeaway from my column,
- Neither the world of money nor the world of the military is prepared to address the actual grievances of the population or the transformation of America’s place in the world. This is a government of fables. It is appropriate that it is led by Trump, a man made more by the world of entertainment than by the world of governance. Glitz is the order of the day. Rhetoric will stand in for policy. Drama is guaranteed.
You can read the rest here.
Finally, thanks to Mark Nowak, here is an interview I did for Jacobin Magazine on socialist writing. It is based on some workshops I have done over the course of the past few years in Delhi and Mumbai on the idea of socialist writing. You can read the interview here.
Hoping that the week ahead is less tumultuous.