Wednesday, June 26, 2013

OBAMA'S FOLLIES WITH SYRIA: A Russian Bear in the Desert | The Weekly Standard

by Tod Lindberg

Russia was nominally opposed to the 2003 Iraq war but supported Security Council Resolution 1441, in November 2002, giving Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and promising “serious consequences” for the failure to do so. The United States expected to but couldn’t obtain a second Security Council resolution in early 2003 containing explicit authorization for the use of military force against the Hussein regime; the big problem then was not Russia, but France. And of course the United States was prepared to act on its own authority anyway, about which Russia could or would do nothing of consequence.

Similarly, Russia did not like the idea of NATO enlargement, especially into formerly Soviet territory, namely, the Baltics. But was Russia willing to, for example, act covertly to destabilize Lithuania in the hope of derailing U.S. enthusiasm for its inclusion in the enlargement round in 2004? No, it wasn’t (or couldn’t).

More recently, Russia was hardly enthusiastic about coming to the rescue of Libyan civilians as forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi closed in to crush the rebellion and—if Qaddafi’s own words were to be believed—exact reprisals on a mass scale. Certainly Russia was not in favor of toppling the Qaddafi regime. But Russia and China did voluntarily subscribe in 2005 at the United Nations World Summit to the principle of the “responsibility to protect”: that if a state fails to act to protect its populations from atrocities (or perpetrates atrocities), the international community acting through the United Nations may do so. And so Russia and China abstained on Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the use of force to protect Libyan civilians................

FULL ARTICLE HERE: A Bear in the Desert | The Weekly Standard

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