Those choosing to blame the U.S. and the U.N. for not stopping the hospital murders in Syria need to review the Soviet role. Is it another Hungary, just in a different style?
They began throwing their weight around in Syria decades before the fall of the Soviet Empire. Without their weapons would there be a toll of several thousand in what is nearly a civil war?
Indeed, Russia was only the Soviet Union for about 70 years but its defeat by the West was a humiliation it has not lived down. The nationalism it appears to be returning to lasted more than 400 years, and even preceeded the Russian empire. The Tsar was known as the “Tsar of all the Russias.”
There is no doubt Russia is preventing the U.N. from blasting Bashar Al-Assad from power, what would be an easy job compared to Libya. Syria is much smaller geographically, and is surrounded mostly by Turkey, Iraq and Israel.
Why does Vladimir Putin take this stand? His critics say it is because Russia is returning to its nationalist heritage.
Moscow plans to restore a naval base in Syria near Tartus next year to handle modern warships. The port has been left to rust for years.
Moscow also supplies weapons to Damascus, though whether it will get paid remains unknown.
Putin’s government has put itself in such a gridlock with Arab League countries facing increasing demands for democracy it is trying diversions like supporting admission of Palestine to UNESCO. Should they support allowing Palestine into the U.N. that might mean something.
Perhaps the play given Ria Novosti to a story about the Arab League calling for peace talks to begin within 15 days indicates Putin understands Al-Assad will fall, and it will be two losses in a row for Moscow when it betted on the wrong horse.
Putin’s critics, including Mikhail Gorbachev, accuse him of trying to draw the former republics back into its circle.
Gorbachev, who stood up against the Communists to end their rule, opposed Putin’s decision to run for president again. He said Putin’s United Russian party reminded him of the Communist Party, and he feared the repression of old would be brought back.
He told Der Spiegel that Putin was “dragging the country into the past, when it is on fire with modernization.”
Putin this week denied any ambition to restore the former empire and told Western critics “to mind their own business,” the kind of diplomacy no doubt taught at the KGB.
So far Putin has met with only moderate resistance from the U.S. and Western Europe but it would not be a surprise if the U.N. becomes a verbal battlefield like the one that existed during the Cold War.
Can Moscow expect to be invited into NATO? Perhaps entry into the World Trade Organization. But even being in trade organizations do not rule out restrictions being imposed base on human rights’ issues or monopolistic policies originating from poorly hidden nationalistic tendencies.