BORIS JOHNSON loves to tell the story of how he rescued a young woman threatened by a mugger, by riding his bicycle full pelt into a blind alley and bellowing: “Be off, you blackguard!”
The story, almost certainly only true in Johnson’s imagination, concludes with the mugger turning tail and “being off.”
That event, he claims, occurred while he was mayor of London. Now, as Foreign Secretary, he’s on his bike again. This time his target is Russia and its support for what he refers to as “the toxic Assad regime.”
He is in full bellowing mood again.
But this time around reality will have to dawn. The crisis around Syria and Russia’s relations with the West is real and extremely dangerous, not imaginary. And — breaking news — the Russians are not about to “be off.”
Ignoring Russian and Iranian calls for a “full and unbiased investigation into the chemical attack,” Britain and the US governments and their tame media pundits have already declared Assad “undoubtedly guilty” on the “good authority of intelligence officials.”
They declare Russian suggestions that the chemical weapons may have been in the hands of the terrorists “simply not credible.”
Already, they have marked their certainty with Donald Trump’s 59 Tomahawk missile attack on the Syrian air base. This was welcomed by Johnson as a “game-changer” which has, indeed, now led to further threats to both Bashar al-Assad and Russia, the latter accused of “co-ordinating the Syrian military efforts.”
This was to have been followed by escalating sanctions against both Syria and Russia by the G7, with Johnson leading the charge.
But perhaps some of those at the G7 had long enough memories to remember the downright lie of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the consequent destruction of the Saddam regime and with it the rapid rise of terrorist power. The parallels and conclusions are so obvious, no-one could not have them in their mind.
The criminality of Tony Blair is now toxic. The G7 didn’t bite at Johnson’s bait.
So Britain’s oafish Foreign Secretary finds himself, at least for the moment, isolated in this particular blind alley. His cancellation of his visit to Russia to discuss Syria, while even US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has agreed to attend, illustrates just how dangerous a warmonger Johnson is — but also how vulnerable to political opposition here in Britain.
But though many who thought of Johnson as an endearing clown can now see him for what he is, this is just the latest stage of the British government’s belligerence. It desperately seeks to raised the stakes in the US-led imperialist aggression against Syria.
There’s much more to come if we let them.
Meanwhile, there is no talk of economic, political or military sanctions against Britain and the US governments for their sustained war on the people of the region.
The voices of the people of Mosul, just the latest victims, are being silenced in their thousands by US bombs. They are mere “collateral damage” to be disregarded in the battle against Isis — a barbaric force created in the first place by the kind of Western imperialist intervention that Johnson is so keen to escalate.