By Curwen Ares Rolinson –
He is perhaps little known in New Zealand today, but one of our most prominent ‘exports’ in a previous age was the cartoonist David Low. A satirist’s worth can be measured by how much he manages to upset those he is satirizing, and how far he shocks an otherwise pliant public into re-examining its own pre-existing prejudices.
On these dual scores, Low was undeniably a success – not only meriting official censorship in the Fascist countries he so frequently targeted, but finding himself marked for apprehension and likely execution in the event of a German invasion of Britain. While in terms of the British reading public, finding himself simultaneously derided as lacking patriotism for his anti-jingoistic depiction of “Colonel Blimp”, and as a belligerent warmonger for his merciless commentaries on the Interwar policy of “Appeasement” towards Nazi Germany.
Truly, the ‘sweet spot’ for those of us engaged in the (geo-)political commentary business is when we are attracting flakk from all sides! For then we are, perhaps, telling the truth without fear nor favour, in a manner unpalatable to each and every of those who would much rather it remain pleasingly obscured.
And while there are any number of seriously excellent Low cartoons which spring instantly to mind when I think upon him – many of which heroically characterize, indeed .. movingly anthropomorphize .. the ‘Blitz Mentality’, the Dunkirk Spirit etc. in a way that cannot help but bring a tear to my eye – what conjured itself from my memory this week was another of Low’s pictorial efforts.
Entitled “Rendezvous”, it depicts the tangible results of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as applies Poland. Meeting atop a face-down corpse in Polish Army uniform, Hitler and Stalin cordially greet one another with courteous bow and doffing of caps – while nevertheless maintaining the pretentious charade that they are indeed enemies.
Says Hitler to Stalin: “The Scum of the Earth, I believe?”
Stalin to Hitler: “The Bloody Assassin of the Workers, I presume?”
All smiles, all charm, all mutually pursued and eventuated interests.
Now, this is not intended to be a piece attacking the Soviet Union (or, for that matter, Germany) for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. There is a quite a fascinating article (which is, again, not this one) detailing the lengthy and mutually fruitful history of German-Soviet co-operation against the ‘Liberal’ West, from the Treaty of Rapallo onwards; and especially given the Anglosphere’s strenuous opposition to and ongoing interference in Soviet internal affairs from the Revolution onward, such an accommodation should not perhaps be looked upon as nearly as surprising in its then-present context as it inevitably now appears.
But the reason for Low’s “Rendezvous” cartoon turning up with such force in my mind’s eye in recent days, was my reading of the outcome of an AP investigation showing that the US-Saudi coalition active in Yemen against the Houthis – has, in point of fact, been rather actively co-operating with Al Qaeda and affiliates.
This should not in any way come as a surprise. As we have seen in Syria, the Atlanticist axis has absolutely zero problem working with those who they otherwise decry (and righteously so – in rhetoric, at least) as “the scum of the earth”. Israel’s working with Al-Nusra because of that network’s shared opposition to Syria and Iran is a lavish case in point.
And given the US-Saudi – or, should I say, the Saudi-Israeliya – shared paranoia about Iranian influence, and a Yemen which is genuinely free and out from under the Saudi thumb, we should find it entirely unsurprising that they have absolutely zero issue collaborating with Sunni / Wahhabi extremists against Shi’ite reasonable men.
But it genuinely infuriates me, that we see all of this rhetoric – all of these ranting, inchoate statements – from various figures active in the US and Israeli and other ‘Western’ politics, about Iran HAVING to be opposed, because they are allegedly “Islamic Extremists” or “State Sponsors of Terrorism” … when these aforementioned countries, their clandestine and Neocon-aligned Deep States see no problem with actively colluding with the ACTUAL and real Islamic Extremists, and themselves becoming the State Sponsors of Terrorism instead.
Nietzsche once wrote something about those who fight monsters having to take care lest they turn into monsters. He neglected to add that those who fight heroes – for such, Hezbollah, the Houthis, the Iranians, the Russians, and others most assuredly are – can far more inevitably find THEMSELVES turning into Monsters.
The relevancy for that David Low cartoon for this situation should prove capaciously obvious.
Although, now that I think upon it, there is one absolutely key difference.
Namely, in the “Rendezvous” illustration, both Hitler and Stalin are posed over a deceased and functionally ‘erased’ figure representing the now-dead dream of an independent Poland.
Whereas, in these situations I am talking about in the contemporary Middle East … the Americans, Saudis, and Israelis – along with their apparent Al Qaeda (et co) allies – are not posed over a dead-and-dessicated national liberation cause. Nor are they cheerily greeting each other in the jubilance of victory.
Rather, they are nervously glancing at one another, contemplating what they shall have to do next in the series of ever-escalating quasi-clandestine unprincipled actions evidently required to desperately shore up their regional (and global) hegemony.
Meanwhile, more people continue to read the facts – despite the various efforts by certain states and platforms to make it more difficult for outlets like Fort Russ to get the word out – and come to the inevitable conclusion as to just who MUST be supported in these regional conflicts.
Come to think of it, that puts me in the mind of another David Low cartoon.
That one’s called “ALL BEHIND YOU, WINSTON”.
Curwen Ares Rolinson has endured almost a decade’s worth of experience at the highest levels of New Zealand Politics; serving as a prominent public face of left-nationalism in his home country before making the transition to political journalism and work in the PR field. His writing has been published in a wide array of outlets – ranging from his award-winning “Sex, Drugs & Electoral Rolls” magazine column, as well as the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and of course the radically dangerous Fort Russ News.