I was brought up in a world where the "other side" — the Soviet Union mainly — lied through its teeth. When it said "liberation" it meant "oppression." That its national newspaper was called Pravda (Truth) was seen as a sick joke.

But now it seems all this has been turned into reverse. Over Syria, Russia, the Balkans or any other global hot spot, Western governments and mainstream media seem free to say whatever they like, no matter how phony or false. Increasingly we are having to rely on the "other side" to tell us the truth.

It is claimed, for example, that on April 4 the Syrian government made a sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. This alleged atrocity was then used to justify the April 6 U.S. cruise missile strike on the al-Shayat air base in western Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump gained a big bump in his ratings as a result. Well-known commentator Fareed Zakaria, speaking on CNN, praised the bombing and said he could now see Trump as the president of the United States.