Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your analysis of the situation in Syria and Iraq?
Dr. Jean Bricmont: It is confusing, because the US wants to support the Iraqi government, which is supposed to be its ally – although it is closer to Iran than the United States – against the Islamic State, but also wants to use the same Islamists, at least in their so-called moderate form, against the Syrian government.
Do you not think that President Trump’s decision to strike Syria is a serious precedent? Is not the only solution for the resolution of the Syrian conflict political and not military?
It is military in the sense that it calls for the insurrection defeat. The US attack is not really a precedent – the United States has already killed Syrian soldiers. Is it serious? This is obviously a violation of international law and of the Constitution of the United States, but this is not the first time that this happens, nor the last. We must see what happens next in order to appreciate the gravity of the situation. These recent attacks will not change the balance of power on the spot, unless they are followed by massive attacks against the Syrian army, which could lead to a world war. We’ll see.
You are a physicist and you taught in American universities. In your opinion, can American public opinion tolerate another imperialist war?
It depends on what is called opinion: « educated » opinion, i.e. media and established intellectuals are almost all for the war. They obviously have an influence on the population, which depends on the media for information and thereby undergoes their constant propaganda. But popular sentiment expressed in the election of Trump is tired of this perpetual war policy. Indeed, many Trump supporters are infuriated by the bombing.
The American strikes against Syria were unilateral action. What is the usefulness of the European Union, the ally of Washington, NATO and especially the UN?
The European Union claims to be a counterweight to the United States, but as member States can’t agree on anything whatsoever, the European Union carries no weight. NATO is the armed wing of the United States. As for the United Nations, it has been so exploited by the United States that it has become powerless. Recently the Russians and sometimes the Chinese are obliged to use their veto, because the resolutions advanced by the United States are unilateral.
At the time where everyone has his eyes fixed on the Syria, there is a military redeployment of United States to East Asia. Do not you think that North Korea is a potential target of US imperialism?
I don’t see what interest the United States would have to attack North Korea. And such an attack would be risky, given that North Korea has nuclear weapons. But it is possible that their threats are intended to intimidate China.
Some of my sources have confirmed to me that the terrorist groups that suffer major losses in Syria and Iraq are redeploying to Europe and Africa. According to you, is Europe prepared for such a wave of terrorists?
I don’t have such sources, so I don’t know what happened in this redeployment. But it is clear that Europe is not able to confront the terrorist phenomenon, if it becomes systematic. There are two ways to counter terrorism: one is the classic police method, by infiltration of terrorist movements or by blackmail and pressure on the terrorists arrested. But the infiltration becomes complicated if there are enough independent terrorist cells. The other way is a really widespread surveillance, but society is not yet ready to accept that.
Are not the « returnees » a permanent threat in a Europe that will have hard to fight them, especially with the lack of coordination in the fight against terrorism, particularly with Syrians and Russians?
I do not know to what extent the terrorists are « returnees » or people who have grown up here. But obviously the lack of coordination with other countries fighting terrorism is a complete absurdity.
Another country devastated by NATO, Libya has become a sanctuary for terrorists and a launching pad for terrorist operations targeting Algeria and the entire Sahel region. In your opinion, is the involvement of regional players the only way to avoid a new adventurous intervention by the United States and NATO, especially as there is information about an American military redeployment in Africa?
I have no advice to give to regional actors. As for a new intervention by the United States and NATO, why would it be able to stabilize the region more than the previous intervention?
You have probably heard the statements of Emmanuel Macron on the colonization of Algeria by France. Do not you think that this candidate used this file for electoral purposes? How this business banker at the Rothschilds, defender of Israel and Zionists, of big capital and globalization, can he claim to defend the Algerian people which underwent the colonial oppression?
I think that political men and women should limit themselves to making political proposals, and not make grand declarations one way or the other on history, morals, religion, and so on. I do not see how a declaration on colonialism defends the Algerian people in any way. The country is independent and has to solve its own problems (which are not slight). Nobody in France wants to re-colonize Algeria. Macron’s statement serves maybe to attract the vote from the « suburbs », but it is a very bad reason to vote for him, since this statement has no real effect.
In these French elections, there was an absence of substantive debate, a multiplication of cases and false polemics. Does the political offer in France live up to the expectations of the French people?
For me, it is related to the fact that France is now only a province of Europe. The important decisions are made in Brussels, Frankfurt or Washington. Hence the lack of substantive policy debate. Nevertheless, each in their own way, Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen ask questions of substance but they should know that no other policy is possible within Europe. There is a lucid candidate on these issues: François Asselineau, of the Union Populaire Républicaine (People’s Republican Union). He is the only one to propose leaving the European Union, the euro, and NATO. But he is little known and very marginal.
We have seen that the mass media failed in the United States during the American presidential election, same during the Brexit in United Kingdom,and in France they continue to talk about the polls and the favorites of the presidential elections. Do not you think that the mainstream media has lost all credibility and that the real information is to be found in the alternative media?
For the polls, I do not know; they are wrong but not by large percentages and I don’t think they are manipulated. For the media, I think that they are not credible, but a part of public opinion continues to trust them. Unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, in continental Europe there is a great pressure linked to the « memory » of war and fascism that pushes people to accept the established order. I think that this memory is principally mystifying, but that is another story.
In your opinion, what does Europe gain by demonizing Vladimir Putin and ceasing any partnership with Russia? Don’t you think that Russia is a major power and that Europeans have an interest in stopping their policy of following the United States?
Yes, they have such an interest, but it’s here that there is a difference between the well-understood interests of the capitalists and the world view promoted by the media. It is the latter who wage a constant ideological war against Russia. It is also why this « war » has more success in the left, which is often more influenced by the dominant media than the right, at least the right that thinks in terms of national interests.
I interviewed and exchanged with various high-ranking military personnel who told me that NATO should disappear because it was originally created to fight the Soviet Union. What is your opinion?
First, there was no need to fight the Soviet Union, because it wanted to keep the positions obtained at the end of the war, but never sought to go beyond. It did not support the Communists in the Greek Civil War and left Finland independent, although it was defeated and had fought USSR alongside the Germans. On the other hand, NATO never intervened directly during the invasion of Hungary or Czechoslovakia. Today NATO is totally obsolete, Russians having no intention to invade anyone, but the bureaucracies have a consummate art of lasting for a long time beyond their limit of expiry by waving imaginary threats, from which they are supposed to protect us.
If, with Killary Clinton, a total war was imminent, do you think that the Trump administration will not commit the irreparable against Russians and Chinese?
In a way, Clinton won the election. At least, the pressures of the neo-conservative-imperialist humanitarian axis, which includes a good part of the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as media, led Trump to a Clintonian policy. As for the irreparable, time will tell, and if the irreparable happens, we will not see it because we will not survive.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Who is Dr. Jean Bricmont?
Jean Bricmont is a Belgian physicist. He teaches theoretical physics at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and he is a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium. He obtained his Ph D in 1976 at the Catholic University of Louvain. He worked as a researcher at Rutgers University and then taught at Princeton University, in United States. His research has earned him two distinctions: the J. Deruyts Prize of the Royal Academy of Belgium in 1996 and the five-year FNRS prize (A. Leeuw-Damry-Bourlart) in 2005.
Jean Bricmont is also known as a rationalist activist who associates with American intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Alan Sokal, etc. He is the author of several books, including: Intellectual Impostures (2003) with Alan Sokal; Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War (2007); Making Sense of Quantum Mechanics (2016) ;Chomsky Notebook (2010) with Julie Franck and Noam Chomsky ; Hidden Worlds in Quantum Physics with Dr. Gérard Gouesbet (2013) ; Occupy with Noam Chomsky (2013 ); Raison contre pouvoir : Le pari de Pascal with Noam Chomsky (2009) ; Le monde qui pourrait être : Socialisme, anarchisme et anarcho-syndicalisme with Bertrand Russel (2014) ; A l’ombre des Lumières : Débat entre un philosophe et un scientifique with Régis Debray (2003), etc.
Published in American Herald Tribune April 20, 2017: http://ahtribune.com/world/1624-jean-bricmont.html