Russia’s Syrian Bet Explained
Published on: February 5, 2012
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  • Kenny

    Excellent analysis in Russian thinking.

    Thank you, Mr. Mead

  • Russia is yet again acting as the adult in the room. Think about the Western demand: do what we say or we’ll talk about you again in 15 days!!!

    Would you send your son to die for Syria? If your answer is “No,” then you fundamentally agree with Russia. You can bloviate all you want, but unless the freedom of Syrians is important enough to you to sacrifice your own child, you are all hat & no cattle.

    All Russia is pointing out is that the ridiculously silly Western policy of “Stop! Or we’ll say ‘Stop!’ again!” (in 15 days), is just that – silly, infantile, arrogant, naive and dumb.

    What will happen if Syria does not do what the West wants? This is an adult question. It has to do with: ‘What are the ramifications?’ consequences and ramifications are things not understood by the Left. Example: we have 9 bazillion gun laws, but the Left won’t throw people in jail.

    Russia is right: America has proved that she will not act, so why talk? America now talks loudly & carries a twig.

    American farmers overthrew the most powerful army in the world. If Syrians want freedom, let THEM fight & die for it. What’s wrong with that?

    And if Americans refuse to understand how the world really works, by electing the idiotically niave we’ve been electing since Boomers came to power, well, maybe Russia is the place to move to in order to survive the collapse the West seems to demand.

  • Peter

    Why do you think China joined in on the veto instead of abstaining, as they could have done? Is there any more to it than sending a message to the West that China doesn’t favor humanitarian regime changes?

  • Kris

    “Russia is a little bit like Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.”

    And you remind me a little bit of Milton (cf William Blake).

  • Cunctator

    Even if one disputes the Russian “side” that is explained in this analysis (and some will), the behaviour of the US ambassador in the immediately aftermath of the veto would seem to support the most cynical interpretation of US motives.

  • Very well written.

    It’s quite obvious that the after the Libya fiasco neither Russia nor China have any interest in enabling the West’s agenda. Whatever that is.

  • Mark Michael

    How would our position in the Middle East change vis-a-vie Russia, Syria, Iran if we had negotiated with Baghdad to leave 20,000 combat troops in Iraq last year? Wouldn’t that give the US a more forceful voice in what’s going? Iraq with its shaky coalition government of majority Shiites and minority Sunnis and Kurds is pulled from all sides. With American troops there perhaps we could “help” Iraq resist pressures from Iran and Syria to form an alliance with them against the Sunni countries around them.

    It would also demonstrate to those countries that the US commitment isn’t fickle: we overthrew Saddam and we’re intent on seeing a decent outcome for the average Iraqi citizen, irrespective of his ethnic and sectarian background. It would also hold an implicit threat in the minds of the local players: America has the military force on the ground that could, if things got bad enough, intervene. That might also temper their behavior a little.

  • dan berg

    What about China? I know they always support “non-interference”, fearing they will be next; but is that it? I fear the longer term problem is, once again, the West against Sino-russian Block.

  • tg

    You can bet the opposition in Syria reassured Russia that if they backed their uprising against Assad they would maintain close calls. After all, this is about severing Syria’s relationship with Iran not Russia. Same applies to China.

    Russia, weighing the evidence, likely came to the conclusion Assad has the loyalty of enough people along with the fire power to win out. So, they naturally sided with the winning side.

  • Russ

    I prefer “my warships are parked there and it’ll look bad if we’re bottled up in the Black Sea again.”

  • Dixi


    1. Please, tell me even one dictator who have really fled to Putinland or trusted Russia as a “safe haven” for his loot.
    2. How plausible is the message Russia sends to all its friendless friends by calling loudly out that it resists the overthrowing of its fellow dictators, but not being able to do anything real about it? (Where’s the Warsaw Pact now? Where’s Gaddafi now?)

  • Adam

    So you’re either a dumb, naive politican, or a deeply cynical master politican? I think someone needs to lay off the Machiavelli

  • Adam

    “Russia is a little bit like Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.  Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, it reasons.  Rather than being yet another acolyte of the hypocritical and insufferable Anglo-Saxon superpower, it will stand with almost anyone who joins the Great Refusal.” complete garbage. Is your position really, this is the wests fault and Russia is trying to hold onto the last real scraps of sanity by aligning with whoever”s left?

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