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17 Apr, 2017 12:26

Boris Johnson 2016 vs. 2017: Flip-flop from ‘Bravo for Assad’ to ‘Topple Assad’

Boris Johnson 2016 vs. 2017: Flip-flop from ‘Bravo for Assad’ to ‘Topple Assad’

The difference between 2016 and 2017 is that Boris Johnson became Foreign Secretary and he went from talking sense to talking neocon: this is what happens to people when they get into the corridors of power, says journalist and broadcaster, Neil Clark.

Last week, the UK failed to convince other G7 member countries to impose new sanctions on Moscow over its support for Damascus. 

Following that, the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote an article for The Telegraph newspaper where he claimed Russia is “in a league of super-villains” together with the Syrian president. Johnson also blamed Bashar Assad for the chemical incident in Syria.

RT: What do you make of the wording of Boris Johnson's article?

Neil Clark: It is very interesting, isn’t it? Because one year ago, on Easter 2016 Boris Johnson wrote another article for The Telegraph entitled ‘Bravo for Assad’ and he actually lauded Assad for the liberation of Palmyra from ISIS. His words were “Hooray, I say. Bravo, and keep going." That was the Boris Johnson of Easter 2016, the Boris Johnson of Easter 2017 is now saying Assad must go and the Russians must break with the Syrian government and work with the Americans to topple Assad. What a flip-flop he is, isn’t he? And what is the difference between now and then? Of course, he became the Foreign Secretary in September, and it seems as soon as he walked through that door in the Foreign Office, he changed. He went from talking sense to talking neocon. Ever since that moment he totally changed on Syria. It is if those newspaper articles he wrote for The Daily Telegraph before, a year ago, didn’t exist. And it is quite remarkable, isn’t it? It just shows you what happens to people when they get into the “corridors of power.” How can you a year ago be toasting Assad and saying “Bravo for Assad,” and now be calling once again for regime change and for Russia to actually distance itself from Syria? Boris Johnson is a joke.

Boris Johnson is reacting to much of the international and public outcry over the chemical attack in Syria. The problem is - his words echo perhaps the previous way of doing things, the era of liberal interventionism and the assumption that that era made: if there was someone the West found to be a dictator, tyrant or bad leader that that person should be removed and the replacement would be superior. We’ve learned in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is that that is often not the case and a worse scenario presents itself thereafter.- Ben Harris-Quinney, founder of the conservative think tank The Bow Group.

RT: Boris Johnson was fired as a journalist at The Times for falsifying information. Aren’t we placing too much trust into some politicians who say they’ve "seen evidence, know the evidence, there was a chemical attack by the Syrian government." But they are not going to show that proof.

NC: It is a complete rerun of 2003 Iraqi WMD, isn’t it? When we were told to take on trust: “We got the evidence, believe us. Saddam has got WMD. We have to go to war because he is a big threat.” And we say “Can you show the evidence?”“No, no, we got the evidence, believe us.” It is exactly the same rerun of that about the chemical attack in Syria. We have been asked to trust the very same people who assured us that Saddam Hussein had WMDs in 2003; the same neocon columnists and politicians.

We don’t believe it, I am afraid until we see the evidence. Let’s wait until we have a proper independent forensic investigation into what happened in Syria and that so-called chemical attack before we rush to judgments. I know it would be an absolutely huge mistake if Russia were to move away from Syria and stop defending Syria on the basis of this because we know what the Western plan is: it is to topple Assad. And then when that happens, they move on to Iran. It would not be in the Russia’s interest to do this. Boris Johnson is looking quite absurd. He went to G7 last week, and he wanted the G7 to push for more sanctions on Russia, he got a rebuff. And sane and rational people are saying “Why the rush? Why can’t we wait for a full independent forensic investigation into the so-called chemical weapons attack to find out who was responsible?” But it seems that we don’t want that. Boris Johnson and the Americans don’t want that. They want us to rush in there, to prioritize on toppling a government which is fighting ISIS. So, you have this huge paradox inconsistency that the US is dropping the Mother of All Bombs on ISIS in Afghanistan and yet in Syria, they are [launching] cruise missiles on the air base of the government which is fighting ISIS. The inconsistencies and the double standards of Western foreign policy are there for everybody to see now.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.