Russia’s 'rational' and 'moral' stance on Syria
U.N. observers photograph a bombed bus in Damascus earlier this month.
June 21st, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Russia’s 'rational' and 'moral' stance on Syria

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides views — importantmoving or just odd — from around the world.

By Fred Weir, GlobalPost

As Syria's uprising against Bashar al-Assad deteriorates into a potentially nation-destroying civil war, most of the diplomatic discourse has been dominated by a high-stakes blame-game between Russia and the West over who is most at fault for the horrific massacre and mayhem.

The most recent example: Monday’s tense meeting between the Russian and US presidents in Mexico, in which Obama failed to get Putin’s help in easing Assad from power.

So far Russia has been losing this rhetorical battle. But the Kremlin insists that its case transcends mere self-interest, and points the way back to a world governed by the rule of law.

Moscow's community of foreign policy experts — many of whom routinely excoriate the Kremlin — seem uncommonly united in support of Russia’s stance on Syria. They argue that the Kremlin is adhering to a conservative set of international values, based on respect for national sovereignty and the right of Syria's people to sort out their own future.

The West, they claim, is out of legal bounds and pursuing its own geopolitical interests thinly disguised as a humanitarian "responsibility to protect" in a manner that is reckless, hypocritical and — perhaps the unkindest cut — incompetent.

"The West talks in terms of noble goals, but their actions tend to wreck any stability, threaten the lives of millions, and leave people worse off than before," says Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the independent Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Moscow. "I don't carry any brief for the Kremlin, but in the case of Syria, the Russian aim is to try to minimize negative outcomes. Russian approaches may be old fashioned and conservative but, I'm sorry to say, they're more rational than current Western policies."

Russian experts dish out examples of botched Western interventions going back to the 1999 Kosovo war, which Moscow helped to resolve after receiving NATO's assurances that Kosovo would never be given independence; a few years later Kosovo was made independent. The long and inconclusive US occupation of Iraq and the ongoing imbroglio in Afghanistan are cited as examples of "making things worse."

But uppermost in Russian minds is the UN-authorized NATO intervention in Libya last year, which Moscow acquiesced to as a measure to protect civilians, only to see it morph into a full rebel campaign for regime change backed by Western air power.

"We've been lied to repeatedly; not a single promise the West has made to us in the past two decades has been honored," says Sergei Markov, vice president of the Plekhanov Economic University in Moscow and a frequent adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past.

More from GlobalPost: When the BRICS crumble

"We've learned to take our own counsel on problems like Syria. What we see is an extraordinarily difficult situation that threatens to explode into a massive bloodbath. Nobody likes Assad, but if you just remove him the entire state will collapse with awful consequences. We wish we could have an intelligent conversation with Western leaders about this, but so far that hasn't proved possible," he says.

After vetoing (along with China) two UN Security Council resolutions that would have imposed tough sanctions and enabled a process for easing Assad out, Russia got on board with the UN-sponsored Kofi Annan plan, which envisaged democratic reforms and UN observers but no sanctions or outside military interference. With the Annan plan in shreds, and violence spiraling in many parts of Syria, the war of words is heating up again.

Russia's primary argument for its position is that it conforms with international law. Sovereignty is the supreme principle, Russian officials say, and Western attempts to change those rules have not led to good results anywhere.

The fixation on sovereignty is rooted in self-interest, and comes with its own healthy dose of hypocrisy. The Kremlin harbors a deep-seated fear that authorizing outside military force to support rebellious populations might one day be used to license intervention in Russia. And the principle does not seem to apply when Moscow is dealing with its own neighbors in the post-Soviet area; after defeating Georgia in 2008, Moscow effective dismembered its southern neighbor by granting independence to the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Putin, who has effectively ruled Russia for the past 12 years, viewed the pro-democracy "colored revolutions" that erupted in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan over the past decade as the creations of foreign intelligence services. When tens of thousands of anti-Kremlin protesters took to the streets of Moscow last December to demand fair elections, his first public response was to blame Hillary Clinton: "She set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work," Putin said at the time.

"Russian leaders fear revolution very deeply, and they look with horror on the Arab Spring and the totally disordered changes that have followed in its wake," says Sergei Strokan, a foreign affairs columnist with the Moscow daily Kommersant.

"The only thing that's worse for them is the idea of popular revolution approved of and supported by the West. They observe all that's happening through a conspiratorial lens. Hence they see Western-backed rebels creating a pretext for Western military intervention that leads to pro-Western regime change. The biggest regret in Russian official foreign policy circles, and the worst accusation against (former President Dmitry) Medvedev, is that he authorized our UN delegation to abstain on the Security Council resolution that authorized the use of force to protect civilians in Libya last year. They are determined not to enable anything like that, not ever again," Strokan says.

Russia also has significant financial and political reasons to back Assad.

Syria has been Moscow's most important strategic partner in the Middle East since 1971. It’s been a major customer for Russian arms and engineering goods. Russia currently has about $5 billion in outstanding arms contracts with Syria, plus as much as $15 billion in other traditional military and economic cooperation — including Russia's only foreign military base, a naval refueling station at the Syrian port of Tartous.

More from GlobalPost: Soccer diplomacy in Ukraine

Financially, abiding by Western-backed sanctions never seems to work out in Moscow's favor. Over the past year, Russia has sacrificed about $4.5-billion in broken arms deals with Libya, and lost as much as $13 billion due to UN sanctions against Iran, experts say.

"Moscow is afraid events in Syria will spin out of control," says Alexander Konovalov, president of the independent Institute for Strategic Assessments in Moscow. "We have lots of economic interests that we stand to lose, but this is not the main thing. The loss of political influence is more important, because Syria is the last point in the Middle East where Russia has a major role to play."

Still, the Kremlin has reacted defensively to charges that it is fueling Syria's civil war by continuing to sell arms to Assad. Stung by Hillary Clinton's recent claim that Russia was sending attack helicopters to Syria for use against demonstrators, Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport made public the list of weaponry it does sell to Syria, including anti-aircraft systems, coastal defense missiles and jet trainers. "We supply armaments that are self-[defensive] rather than attack weapons, and there can be no talk about any violations by Russia or Rosoboronexport either de jure or de facto," the agency's spokesman, Igor Sevastyanov, told journalists.

(It also appears that Clinton's claim was incorrect. Syria's fleet of at least 36 Mi-25 "Hind-D" helicopter gunships — a deadly flying artillery platform made famous by Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980's — was purchased from Russia at least 20 years ago. The helicopters Clinton was referring to were recently serviced in Russia, and were being returned to Syria, but no new helicopter contracts have been signed in over ten years, experts say.)

Russia retorts that it's the West, and Sunni-dominated Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are smuggling in weapons to fuel the armed rebellion against the Alawite minority rule headed by Assad in Syria.

"We think we know how the world works as well as anyone else, and our diplomats have been active in the Middle East for a long time. We do not have the slightest romantic illusion that something that comes after Assad will be better," says Satanovsky. "We see a religious war shaping up in Syria, and across the region — Sunni against Shia — and we want no part of it. We see all sorts of extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, fighting alongside these anti-Assad rebels and we wonder why you don't seem to notice that ....

"Our Western colleagues point to these terrible atrocities (taking place with increasing frequency in Syria) and say, 'We have to do something!' But your own Western track record shows that you get the regime change you wanted, then lose all interest in the humanitarian problems," he says.

"As for Russia, we've learned to base our policy on national interest. We simply don't believe Western leaders know what they're doing, and we're not listening to all that chatter anymore. So, Russia's Syria policy will remain basically the same, and there is no significant debate over this in the Russian establishment today," he adds.

Topics: Russia • Syria

soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. shahin

    Note the "rational" and "moral".

    Way to go being objective CNN and totally not biased!

    June 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Fightings have broken out in Syria's largest port Latakia. The Russian naval authority based in Syria's port of Tartus was planning to evacuate Russian nationals and military personnel. Some 100.000 Russians are estimated to be in Syria. No order has been given yet, but they are ready to leave when the situation worsens.

      June 22, 2012 at 3:37 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Syria had been discussed between Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Obama and Cameron had also spoken about the possiblity of granting Assad clemency, would he end regime violence and go to the negotiating table in Geneva. Assad could go to exile in Iran or Russia. Putin supported this proposal.

        June 22, 2012 at 3:43 am |
      • Cheetahe

        How do you know? Are you that privileged or are you one of those who has adapted a Syrian rebel?

        June 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • chefdugan

        Putting Russia and the word moral in the same sentence is an oxymoron. Putin is just as evil as Stalin but a little more slick.

        June 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Maplewood

      Russia and China wish to reserve the right to once again murder their own people en masse without interference from the West. Just think what would have happened if an organized UN force, including a pre-Hitler Germany would have "interfered" with Stalin's murder of tens of millions of his own prosperous farmers and middle class. Who knows when China will need another "Cultural Revolution" aka mass murder spree? Both certainly don't need anyone looking over their shoulders. Today Syria, tomorrow someone may demand actual freedom of speech in these places! I lived a long time in Russia and I can smell the rot in the Kremlin line. At least, to their satisfaction, we let the "Dear Leader" perpetuate the torture and misery of his choice on tens of millions of North Koreans. Now that's moral behavior protecting sovereignty!

      June 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
      • John N. Seattle, WA

        Agreed! In almost every press release or statement to the press, China and Russia emphasize how other countries can not "meddle in a country's internal affairs"! What they are really, REALLY scared of, is that the next time THEY repress their own citizens, as Putin is CURRENTLY DOING, and as China is CURRENTLY DOING, the International community will take action against THEM! It's not so far fetched anymore...the world's tolerance for dictators (even when they call themselves "Prime Minister or President"...I cant remember what Putin is currently, he will switch back and forth till he dies apparently!)...the world's tolerance for dictators slaughtering their own people is far lower than it was just a few decades ago...and eventually China AND Russia are going to be in Assad's situation....just watch!

        June 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Konstantine

        Well said John N. I've been saying this since day one.

        I've lived in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia for years. I'm aware of the regional outlook on Russia and specifically the Russian government. Russia's Putin has no morals, 0, none. He will have every Syrian die, before he gives up his interests in this bloodbath.

        June 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
      • lol

        u must be a brain washed idiot or one of the ones working for

        June 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
      • China watch

        Syrian must remember China sponsor of pol pot of KhmerRouge Cambodia, it killed millions of its own citizens. A show called killing fields tells it. China's full support for Assad, you know where this is going. Don't buy China products. One way or another, it is killing Syrian people.

        June 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Zopa197998978

      Dude, we even elected muslim president so you wont be so angry with us 🙂

      June 22, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • guest

        Dude, Pres. Obama is a Christian. Amazing how people like you perpetuate lies you hear in your church and on Faux news.

        You probably think he was born in Kenya also!

        Do you have any idea how much vetting he's been through based on his many years in public service? Doubt it Dude, keep smoking!

        June 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • John N. Seattle, WA

        People as ignorant as you are showing yourself to be should lose their ability to vote! Idiots like you elected Bush!

        June 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • davecu

        "We simply don't believe Western leaders know what they're doing, and we're not listening to all that chatter anymore."

        What a shame we don't do the same. I, too, don't believe the west knows it's a$$ from shineola.
        We constantly do exactly what shouldn't be done, pay the country for defying us, and kiII some civilian.

        We haven't a clue foreign OR domestically.
        Maybe we SHOULD walk away and focus getting OUR country back together.

        June 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • eg


        June 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • Nam123


        Idiots like you elected Clinton

        June 24, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • buggle

      the quotations are actually more appropriate, as to not have them would imply Russia's stance IS in fact rational and moral (suggesting that it's a certainty), when these are subjective terms and must therefore be in quotations to reflect the fact that they are merely opinions.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • siroos

      Oh more wisdom from the mullah offspring,
      every one notice that his supreme leaders leaves the planet and flies to heaven, to consult with god on earthly matters, and brings back so many good guidance for us humble people of Iran, for example we have public hangings, lashings, beatings, torture, poverty, unemployment, mental disorder on mass scale and so much more in Iran from all the supreme guidance of his supreme leader,
      And that's why this humble servant Shahin comes here to guide the rest of the world so we can have some of the enlightenment they have received in Iran

      June 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Barry G.

      I agree with you.

      Russia's rational and moral stance on Syria?

      Don't make me laugh!

      Russia's leaders (like Dictator Putin) should be ashamed, for allowing Assad to commit such atrocities, in order to protect their financial interests, their military base, and their leverage on power.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
      • Ekram

        Barry, the only difference between USA and Syria is that USA kills citizens of other countries (e.g., Iraq, Vietnam etc) and Syria kills its own people......but to me both are murderous!!!

        June 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Vector

      The Truth:

      Israel has special military operatives working to over through Assad’s Syria.

      From Wiki Leaks: “Israeli security forces have undergone extensive training prior to the coup to over through the Syrian government (Assad's Syria). Israeli secret military operatives have undergone logistic training to arm and rallied Syrian Citizens to overthrow the Syrian Forces (Strategic Coup).”

      Same operations, transmissions, conducted in Libya to topple Muammar Gaddafi.

      Radio transmissions are easy to decrypt and bribes disclose secrets.

      For over a year – Israel has sent secret service agents, a coup to overthrow Assad’s Syria.
      Israel has special military operatives killing thousands of Syrian Armed Forces, Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, and Paramilitary Forces.

      This Israeli NATO cover up is Mass Genocide the World will Stike Back Destroy The Empire The Oppression of OPEC.

      I do not support Israel killing over 10,000 human beings.

      Israel’s motive is clearer than Crude, Natural Resources, and relentless Greed.

      Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton have armed Israel with U.S. military weapons and weapons of mass destruction. This Israeli armament is the cause of Middle East instability and genocide.

      Anyone, any journalist, who denies the truth, breaks the commandments: Thou shall not bear false witness, Thou shall not kill, and Thou shall not steal – should remember – your antimatter, your soul is at stake; Heaven or Hell is for eternity.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
      • Robert

        Maybe you should go over to Syria. Israel has nothing to do with what is going on. It's a civil war between Alewites/Shias and Sunnis. Israel gains nothing in this battle. Just more bad press from bigots like you.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
      • Tzion

        On the contrary Robert, Vector is telling the truth. This is America being a puppet of Israel to destabilize Syria just as they are trying to destabilize Iran. Iran work hand in hand with Syria and Israel wants to overthrow both nations because Israel accuses them of supoorting Hamas and Hezbollah. Unfortunately, the days since Nixon, who say threw the Jews' tricks, America has increasingly become subservient to AIPAC's and Israel's demands and this is part of the reason America is a collapsing empire.

        June 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
      • Tzion

        Sorry for my spelling mistakes, no spell check lol. I meant to type: On the contrary Robert, Vector is telling the truth. This is America being a puppet of Israel to destabilize Syria just as they are trying to destabilize Iran. Iran works hand in hand with Syria and Israel wants to overthrow both nations because Israel accuses them of supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. Unfortunately, the days since Nixon, who saw threw the Jews' tricks, is gone and since them America has increasingly become subservient to AIPAC's and Israel's demands and this is just one of the reasons America is a collapsing empire.

        June 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • Baba O'Riley

        As evidenced by your statements, you do not support proper research and asserting only true facts.
        Creative writing is down the hall.

        June 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  2. AlexShch

    What happened to CNN today: not a single article about Syria and Russian helicopters? MV Alaed disappeared into the fog. But what about the other three Russian ships? Are they going anywhere? Hillary, WHERE ARE YOU? We all missed your exciting rhetorics! There is nothing to brag about today. It is like starting your day without morning cup of coffee.

    ...well looks like Sec. Clinton received "tone it down, Hillary" signal from Pres. Obama.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Quigley

      Hilary Cinton is truly disgusting with her arrogance and self-righteousness. No wonder so many people abroad dislike us so! Bullying in any form is nauseating!

      June 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
      • djfldjfd

        The sad fact is the hillbillies don't see it this way. In fact they even encourage this

        June 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • Larry L

        Hillary Clinton is an outstanding Secretary of State and your comments say absolutely nothing. Her approach is called "diplomatic" rather than the military option normally selected by Republican administrations. How many American lives are we willing to give for our old enemy? How about 500? Maybe 2000? 5000? How about you? Are you willing to give your life or the lives of your children for Syria? Chicken-hawks are like their role model Mr. Crappy-Pants Ted Nugent. Big talk.

        June 22, 2012 at 12:24 am |
      • guest

        So how do your view the actions, lies and murders done under the "leadership" of Pres. Bush?

        June 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      The Russian-owned cargo vessel MV Alaed had its insurance withdrawn because The Standard Club in London, which supplied its cover, said the ship had "broken internal rules". The U.K. was implementing the E.U. arms embargo on Syria. The Kremin had confirmed that the ship that was stopped off the north coast of Scotland and sent back to Russia was carrying three refurbished attack helicopters destined for Syria.

      June 22, 2012 at 3:53 am | Reply
      • Andrey

        So what you are saying: the Standard Club or whatever this UK based insurance company was has an intelligence service of its own which reported "military attack helicopters" onboard of the ship.... (very smart conclusion they have made after reading the ship's conosament – ingenious!). Then Russia had to turn the ship around and cancel the delivery: because it could not afford to continue with ships insurance withdrawn.... Sounds totally ridiculous to me. Do you have any kind of difficulty believing it all yourself?

        June 22, 2012 at 11:18 am |
      • Brother Weeze

        Would it not be cheaper to send parts and mechanics to Syria to "refurbish"
        Helicopters, rather than ship the whole copter to Russia ?
        Doesnt make sense to me.

        June 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • AlexShch

        There was some confusion caused by bad English-to-Russian translation followed by bad backward translation and various journalist fantasies.

        "the ship stopped" or "the ship was stopped" or "the ship was forced to stop"

        Later on June 21 it was clarified by Russian Foreign Ministry. The ship stopped, meaning stopped on its own.

        It appears that it was adrift for about one day (looks like they were deciding what to do about it), and then ended up heading to Murmansk to officially change flag and registration from Curacao to Russian. It was officially explained that it is done to avoid the possibility of being arrested if it goes to foreign port (did not elaborate the possible cause for the arrest).

        Technically, forcefully stopping a merchant ship which does not violate any UN sanctions (others do not count) in international waters is considered an act of war. In this particular case, if British Navy decides to stop it, this would be act of war between Great Britain and Republic of Curacao.

        Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledge the presence of helicopters (the number is unspecified), but refused to elaborate about future plans (whether the helicopters will be sent to Syria later, and if then whether they will be send by the same ship or by other means of transportation).

        P.S.: Who is "Kremlin"? I do not know the guy named Kremlin.

        June 23, 2012 at 1:16 am |

    Russia is absolutely right! The US has consistently lied about their intentions. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are only the most recent examples. The US has been the most active military Imperial power in the last 100 years. They play by their own rules that might makes right and forget about International law. Bush arrogantly remarked that “they should bring their lawyers”. As long as there is a counter balance of Russia and China, the World has some sense of law.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Quigley

      Thank you, BECKET. You said it all. We do play by our own rules without any regard to the rights of others! This needs to stop!

      June 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
      • You're So Right

        Well said. I agree with Russia on this one. The president should give back his nobel prize if he keeps up the counterproductive policies he's conducting.

        June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • guest

      How true! Those who think that American's can do no wrong, don't listen to any rational reviews of the actions of this country. Look at the history of our country when it comes to wars, foreign and domestic (i.e. against our own people).

      June 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  4. Truth

    Lets see, its OK for Russia to side with Syria's Assad to kill its own population by the thousands so that they don't loose billions in military contracts and no one thinks this is strange? So Syria can destroy its own people (over 20K) and rising and the world sits back and lets it happen. Then these stupid comments that make no sense about Russia being "right", wake up before the same thing happens to you you smug morons. Russia is one of the most corrupt Nations on the Planet. Its a cespool of corruption with Putin being the biggest thief of all.

    June 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • russiatoday-dot-com

      since when you care about syrian people?what is your agenda?

      June 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
      • Restoration

        @ saeed. Did you know the Jews are going to take back temple mount and rebuild the Solomon temple? Where will you be when the Dome of the Rock is destroyed? I cannot stand this hatred towards jews, islam and the arab countries are disgusting and hateful.

        June 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |
      • Nutjob

        russian need to usa there nuclear weapons against britain they will turn every person in britain into red glowing charcoal dust ...........

        NO, not the red glowing charcoal dust.......please saeed, anything but that.......
        Oh the horror.
        Saeed, did your camel bite you again ?

        June 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • Larry of the Dune

        Nutjob – too funny. Great sense of humour. Well done!
        Too bad Saeed does not understand sarcasm.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • john

        Religion is a joke bro.

        June 24, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • djfldjfd

      and the great u s of a is killing people for humanitarian reasons. Give me a break. Moron.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • hoto

      US killed 1.5 million people in Iraq. A Syrian invasion will turn out the same.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        Feel free to blame the U.S. all you want, but the basic truth of the situation is that extreme, overwhelming Muslim hatred of all other human resulted (and are STILL resulting) in the vast majority of those deaths. Don't forget that Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people in an attempt to stifle this hatred for as long as he did, but the root problem was there long before the U.S. ever showed up, and remains there even today long after we are gone.

        June 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • Lee

        You might be right Mike about Hussain killing hundreds of thousands but he held the country together. Now WE are responisble for those million plus deaths simply because we tore the country apart. It could easily happen in Libya and Syria if the Russians and Chinese let us get away with it.

        June 22, 2012 at 9:47 am |
      • Baba O'Riley

        Muslims killing other muzzies.
        Explain why you think USA is responsible?

        June 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  5. photoroobit

    Well what else to expect from a Nazi Russophobe lowlife called Fred Weir

    June 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • russiatoday-dot-com

      and you are nice people,very ethical and honest.

      June 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  6. russiatoday-dot-com

    this is my favorite one:americans complain that someone is immora!ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,...aligators complain,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,...

    June 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Nutjob

      Your vodka has been poisoned.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  7. Matt A.

    To russia today: We generally don't support annihilation or sectarian genocide. You've spent too much time reading Pravda and drinking vodka on Putin's dime.

    Granted, Iraq was a mistake. Few Americans support long term military engagements.

    How would you suggest Putin deal with Syria?

    June 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • KEVIN

      Matt, we will just have to wait and see how Putin deals with not only Syria but us and many other geo-political sittuations. Putin is super smart in geo-politics and negotiatiion and he truly is a man's man . I like him (and I think Obama and Biden like him too)

      June 22, 2012 at 3:15 am | Reply
      • Nutjob

        Putin banging you Kevin ?

        June 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Kevin's Mom

        Putin, and the Kremlin as a whole, aren't "super smart in geopolitics," otherwise Russia wouldn't be in the state that it finds itself in. Russia has dragged its feet ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, existing in a balance of denial, sore-loser-dom, and automatic disapproval of American developments. America is viewed as something like what the Russians would have done, had their empire remained and thrived, except Russia would of course argue that it would do it better or slightly differently.

        June 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • Kevin's Dad

        I could never make that boy take his pills.

        June 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  8. Norm

    Whenever you read one of these comments that's been Google translated, you can still detect the hint of jealousy from other nations at not having the freedom and wealth the average citizen has here in the USA.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • Matthew

      Amen, Sir!

      June 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • shahin

      American idíot...

      June 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
    • Red'on, admit it..........just a little jealousy?

      June 22, 2012 at 5:42 am | Reply
    • Lee

      I'm an American and I think that's a bunch of crap. I suspect more that people are tired of us forcing ourselves on them. I know I am.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
  9. Norm

    Russia sounds like they're still a little bitter over losing the cold war......

    June 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • KEVIN

      Norm, they still have a sh** load of nukes and looking back, they won financially for their people and geo-politically to abondon Communism and present themselves to the world as non-isolative and utilize the power of diplomacy. It was a smart move by Russia and as we see today they still hold a sh** load of power.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:56 am | Reply
      • Larry of the Dune

        The Russian political system is one of the more recent to embrace democracy but remains deeply flawed in terms of its democratic credentials, overwhemingly tainted by corruption, and massively influenced by the power and personality of one man, Vladimir Putin.
        While Russian democracy may not be a total oxymoron, it is most certainly a work in progress with Vladimir Putin remaining a massive influence on the acquisition and exercise of power. Observers describe the current state of the Russian political system as "managed democracy" or "sovereign democracy" or simply as "Putinism".

        June 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  10. JR

    Cool story, bro.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  11. Ghostryder

    No one said anything...when hundreds of innocent people died in bahrain. What was their crime? Even doctors been convicted those tried to help the wounded ones. Their army guarded the hospitals in order to prevent them from serving innocent wounded people, not too long ago just couple of months massacre took place in bahrain as well. Western world quietly watched the show and no one dared to say anything to them. That's sad.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  12. JT

    Russia's moral stance, the same country that invades & occupy other peoples lands, kills indiscriminately including their own. We don't have such a great record ourselves to anwser that question.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • Larry of the Dune

      in·dis·crim·i·nate (nd-skrm-nt)
      1. Not making or based on careful distinctions; unselective: an indiscriminate shopper; indiscriminate taste in music.
      2. Random; haphazard: indiscriminate violence; an indiscriminate assortment of used books for sale.
      3. Confused; chaotic: the indiscriminate policies of the previous administration.
      4. Unrestrained or wanton; profligate: indiscriminate spending.

      If this is the word you truly want to use, then you are a total idiot.
      Get a real job.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  13. War Vet

    Sadly the Russians do make a good point. I watched as the W admin screwed up both wars simply by aiming for profits for Halliburton. Like the article states, we came in, disrupted countries; then left, leaving Afghanistan and Iraq in a mess. Russia’s point though skewed is nonetheless accurate, which suck for us. Iraq has oil and we have pretty much screwed that up, which to me is unbelievable. Afghanistan has an incredible supply of rare earths but we will screw that up as well I am sure; China and Russia will split that or China just might keep it all, who knows? Incredible.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  14. Joshua Wertheim

    Lest we all have amnesia, let me remind everyone here that it was Russia that invaded Afghanistan way before the US did and in fact that invasion directly led to Bin Laden's rise in power and influence through the terroristic Arab world. And that Russia invaded Georgia and slaughtered innocent Georgian citizens a few years ago – a regime change barely mentioned in the above article. And those of you who complain about the US foreign policy, let's never forget that North Korea invaded South Korea with Soviet arms, leading to the start of the Korean war; the Soviets armed the North Vietnamese in the 1950s against the South and France and in the 60s and 70s against the South and U.S; the Russians armed Iraq who then used those arms to invade Iran; they armed the Serbs who used the weapons to slaughter the Bosnians; and now they continue to arm the Syrians who use the weapons to slaughter its own citizens. Those who somehow think that the Russians have the moral high ground in this debate are sorely lacking judgment and are in fact quite foolish and ignorant.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      " was Russia that invaded Afghanistan way before the US did and in fact that invasion directly led to Bin Laden's rise in power and influence through the terroristic Arab world..." - WOW! I have seen a lot of twists and fantasies, but this one is definitely catches my eye. Of course, Russia is #1 beneficiary of having Bib Laden and Sept. 11. Does anybody have doubt?

      June 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
      • Albert Von Sachsen

        You just don`t know much. Russia retreated from Afghanistan after suffering an humiliating defeat at the hands of the Mujahadin, armed by the US. This happened way before the US invaded Iraq. By the way, in case you consider this a fantasy, remember the Iraquis lining up to surrender to the advancing American troops. The did in 3 weeks what the Iranians, another fantasy land, couldn`t do for 11 years. Now, if you like apples, how do you like them apples.

        June 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
      • AlexShch

        No, Albert, I am just kidding.

        I know what happened and when. Back in 1989 Taliban did not exist and nobody heard about Bin Laden. Russians installed Afghan Government of Dr. Najibullah in 1987, and his government remained in power until 1992 controlling most, if not all Afghanistan, but gradually loosing territory toward 1993. Contrary to what you see in Wilson's War movie, US did not lost interest to Afghanistan in 1989 after Soviets left, but kept supporting mujaheddin in their fight against Afghan Central Government of Najibullah until its fall. After its fall, and death of Najibullah in 1996, the remnants of forces loyal to that Afghan Central Government withdrew to the North, and later became known as "Northern Alliance" headed by formal president Rabbani (actually holding no real power), Akhmad-shakh Masood (having virtually all real power), and Gen. Dostum. While Masood and Dostum were initially fighting against Soviets, both of them actually stopped doing so in 1983 under the deal negotiated by Soviet Generals and actually helped to guard territory through which Soviet supply routes went against attacks of US-supported mujaheddin. Both Masood and Dostum played instrumental role in Najibullah's government.

        After withdrawing in 1990 Soviet Union dramatically reduced material support of Najibullah, and Russia completely cut is off in 1991. Not even selling fuel for tanks for money. In contrast, US kept supporting of what became known as Taliban in 1993, and the last contact between US and Taliban can be traced into 1999. The person from US side supervising policies in Afghanistan was nobody else, but Madeleine Albright, remember her? Before becoming Sec. of State replacing Warren Christopher, she was US ambassador to UN for a couple years, and before that she was mostly focusing specifically in Afghanistan. She is also known for her negotiation in 1999 trying to persuade Masood to surrender to Taliban, remember that episode?

        Russia started providing very limited military support to Northern Alliance after late 1998, as lobbied by several Russian generals who participated in that war (notably Gen. Lebed and Gen. Gromov) when it was realized that overtaking Pyanshir Valley by Taliban became a possibility.

        US Government/Clinton Adm. interest in Taliban dried out late in 2000 only after public outcry is US when videos of public executions of women by Taliban Religious Police become available (still possible to find them in Internet, if looking harder, although not on Youtube).

        Another (and this time actually much stronger) birst of public outcry in the US was caused by destruction of Buddha statures by Taliban in spring 2001.

        Masood was killed by suicide bomber in Sep. 10, 2001 (one day before Sept. 11). At that time and for several years already the head of Masood security was actually a former Russian soldier who was taken prisoner back somewhen during the initial phase if the war. He was pure ethnically Russian, not just some nationality living in Russia. It is famously known that at some point Masood back in 1983 told him "You are free to go". The soldier replied "I have nowhere to go" referring to that he would be probably prosecuted in Russia. Then Masood replied "Then you are free to stay". The soldier "But what am I going to do?" Masood: "Just grab an AK-47 and join my guard". Soldier: "But do you afraid ...I was you enemy?" Masood: "No, there is no wisdom for you to harm me". The soldier rose in ranks for the next 15 years eventually becoming chief of Masood's guard. The possibility of Suicide bombing was not considered as serious threat back in 2001: after leaving their guns and having their bags checked the "journalists" were allowed to see Masood. The explosives were hidden in their camera.

        Northern Alliance did all the ground fighting at the initial phase of US war in Afghanistan in 2001, including retaking City of Kabul from Taliban.

        Any more questions?

        P.S. Still using unmanned drones to hunt down your one time best friend Gulbuddin Hekmatyar you so generously supported back in 198x?

        June 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
      • king kong

        If you had just used a "smiley face", your fingers would not be hurting....

        June 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • KEVIN

      Jashua, playing neener – neener will get no one anywhere

      June 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Ekram

      What a BS?

      June 23, 2012 at 1:49 am | Reply
      • Debby

        BS=camel dung

        June 24, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  15. JohnnyAnonymous

    I can't really fault Russia's logic here.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  16. Jeb

    "The West, they claim, is out of legal bounds and pursuing its own geopolitical interests thinly disguised as a humanitarian "responsibility to protect" in a manner that is reckless, hypocritical and — perhaps the unkindest cut — incompetent."

    This is so true it is uncanny. Stop war-mongering President Obama. The US has made a mess in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and is trying to extend the mess to Syria. Stop it, and fix our own yard.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  17. KEVIN

    Russia is correct in its interpretation of the West's goals and actions. We want to control Syria as we have tried in Iraq and Afganastan with pathetic results. We should not make a move with Syria until and unless we get backing from Russia and China. Frankly we should make NO moves in the ME without the backing from BOTH Russia and China

    June 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      The US shouldn`t intervene at all in Syria. This is an Arab problem. Let the Arabs solve their own problems, if need be the Arab League can help them. The US has spent enough money trying to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be hated even more by these countries.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  18. Viper

    UN useless should just be dis banned.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  19. orion7x

    Talking to Putin is like talking to the GOP Congress. Useless!

    June 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  20. KEVIN

    Russia is correct in its interpretation of the West's goals and actions. We want to control Syria as we have tried in Iraq and Afganastan with pathetic results. We should not make a move with Syria until and unless we get backing from Russia and China. Frankly we should make NO moves in the ME without the backing from BOTH Russia and China. Hopefully we will realize this fact

    June 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Better yet KEVIN, we need to stay out of the Middle East altogether for a change. We need to quit trying to force our will on other people around the world and deciding their futures. In other words, we need to adopt a laissez-faire foreign policy and drop our arrogance and self-righteousness. Besides, our own economy is suffering because of it!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Nutjob

      We have interupted the flow of rockets, guns, money and drugs from Iran via Syria to hezzbollah.
      Smart plan, its working.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
      • KEVIN

        Nutjob, and it is working quite well. Isn't it?

        June 23, 2012 at 5:03 am |
      • Larry of the Dune

        It's a step in the right direction.

        June 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  21. onestarman

    PUTIN = Rule of Law HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

    June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Is he truly any worse than Barack Obama, onestarman? Somehow I don't think so!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
      • Albert Von Sachsen

        I am not American.Seems to me that if you compare Obama with Putin, you either don`t know Putin or hate Obama. Perhaps both

        June 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
      • Andrey

        Albert Von Sachsen: Probably both and for good reason too....

        June 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
      • Larry of the Dune

        "for good reason" ?
        Please explain this nincompoop statement.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  22. davecu

    Let the knowledgeable Russian and Chinese goverments spend some of THEIR treasure and youth to pacify these Arab Spring mutts.
    Why should we have a fig?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  23. Cheyenne

    well, i cannot argue with EITHER logic. They are both right, the Russian's are just selling whats nessary for them to sustain them selves. Think if you were a country. You would need to do what you needed to do in order to save your people, or else you and your people would die or perhaps be invaded. I would have done the same, unfortunately, in the cruel world, you cant always do whats good for others, you need to do whats right for your people and country. Yes, sorry to say, but countries are selfish and they need to be to sustain a proper life for citizens. okay, now to get on to the other side of this debate. I understand where the Americans stand on this. I mean normal people would think that this is a very bad thing to do (and their mostly correct) but i think that they forget what it would be like to have all your people's lives in the palms of your hands.

    All in all, i think that in order to have good change happen, we must leave the middle east alone and let them solve their own problems without the help of the rest of the world.
    (btw guys im only 13 so please don't be mean to me for stressing my opinion)

    June 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • mark taylor

      Good thing you weren't calling the shots while Hitler slaughter 6 million people and marched through Europe.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
      • Albert Von Sachsen

        Hitler, unfortunately, killed a lot more than 6 million people. He killed about 20 million all told. Jews were not the only ones to die by his actions. Stalin made a solid contribution by killing at least 15 million Russians during purges from the beginning of his dictatorship

        June 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • mark taylor

      Ok, just saw your age. There are moral imperatives and despite some recent shortcomings by the US, most notably Iraq I am a harsh critic – though it remains to be seen what the long term impact will be), there is right and there is wrong. There is weak and there is strong. Sometimes those with strength have to step in, just like the allies did in WWII. There are times when force is justified.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  24. mark taylor

    ""We've been lied to repeatedly; not a single promise the West has made to us in the past two decades has been honored,"

    Since when do we own Russia anything? Let's back the timeline up a few decades to the invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the intervention/oppression in the Baltic, the attempted assassination of the Ukrainian president, the oppression in Poland. What incredible hypocrites.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • Larry of the Dune

      If you dig back far enough, you will discover that Russian cavemen fought with European cavemen.
      Unlike Islam, the civilized world learns from its mistakes and, then, things change.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
      • Sharkfisher

        Larry, I learned a long time ago that ANYTHING bad goes wrong in ANY muslim country it's blamed on Israel. If a muslim gets constipation,Israel gets the blame.

        June 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  25. Bob

    Unfortunately, the weight of the past cited does seem to be in Russia's favor. After all as an example, we invaded Iraq on what turned out to be essentially 100% incorrect info ( propoganda? ) – now if one was simply guessing we would have been 50% right and 50% wrong. The point being to be ~100% wrong and sound still sound sensible actually takes intentional effort to succeed in. We fell for that – and the consequence was/is more than a quarter of a million dead Iraqi's ( yes babies as well ), and I am not sure for what to this day. I am kind of waiting for the next deceit to unfold, probably around US arming of Syrian rebels – despite many statements to the effect that the US is only supplying non lethal aid. The picture portrays little real concern for civilians of any type or nation if such is the case, and there does not seem to be any moral compass in what we do.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      You are only mentioning Iraq. The Russians have victimized all countries under their influence, even killing quite a lot more than the people who died in Iraq. Repression in Poland, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland again, left a huge number of deaths and thousands sent to Gulags in Siberia. Yet still after all that you still admire their system, which by the way has not changed.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  26. outspoken123

    God bless Putin !!

    June 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  27. Onikami

    russia and china do fear revolution. look at how they treat their own people. the us is no saint but it least we don't try to take a person voice and choice away from them. i care neither for obama or romney and am able to voice my dissatisfaction to almost rebellion.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  28. rhodes

    "We've been lied to repeatedly; not a single promise the West has made to us in the past two decades has been honored," says Sergei Markov, vice president of the Plekhanov Economic University in Moscow and a frequent adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past.

    >>What goes around, comes around!<<

    "After vetoing (along with China)" we hear from those human rights champions...Russia and China...very impressive for the uninformed

    June 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  29. AlexShch

    Actually, if you focus about the subject - that the nature of conflict and the possible ways out in Syria - and leave aside all other irrelevant comparisons (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan, etc...) and all speculations about interests third-party players involved (i.e., whose client state Syria is going to be), then the position of Russia, and specifically as outlined by Russian Foreign Ministry, is actually both moral and rational. Sounds crazy, right?

    In an ideal world it is easy to distinguish between good and evil.

    In real world you end up compromising and acting like a lawyer for are criminal (or for someone who looks like a criminal, or is about to be convicted being criminal). Is it immoral to be a lawyer? Or may be it is hypocritical?

    Syrians fed up with Assad and do not want him any more? May be. Some of them definitely want him hanged. How many? More than 50%? Less? The point is that these questions cannot be answered, because any elections, referenda, and/or exit polls are possible only after things calm down. As of right now it is all wishful thinking.

    Russians also did not like Gorbachev at some point in 1989? Sure they din not, in fact more than 50% of then got tired seeing his face. In 1991 he tried to compromise between people who want change and Communist Party hardliners. The outcome? At first Gorbachev was deposed by by his own hardliners, then they were deposed by the people on the street, then the whole thing was hijacked by crooks who later start calling themselves "oligarchs". The outcome? The country is destroyed. Humiliation and crushing poverty on the level unimaginable during the Gorbachev era. Wars. 7 (Aug 1991) + ~800 (Oct 1993) + ~20,000 (1st and 2nd Chechen wars) killed - relatively bloodless by Russian standards, huh? All started as peaceful demonstrations back in 1989. At least 10 years wasted and not fully recovered yet. May be as much as 20 million kids not born. They, Russians, know first hands what is the true costs of these "revolutions" and "springs".

    Now Syria have to choice between:

    A. Transition to bright, democratic, and prosperous Syria through civil war, mutual hatred, sectarian violence, and subsequent humiliation, poverty, and lawlessness. Hint: this is not between the "regime" and "the people": there are multiple factions who were getting alone with each other only because they were suppressed by the regime.

    B. Transition to bright, democratic, and prosperous Syria through strengthening the existing regime into basically a military style dictatorship, with subsequent (later... may be... when things the calm down) reforms in future.

    Note: reforming the existing regime right now is not longer an option. Assad actually tried it, but it was too little and too late. At this point any weakening of the existing regime will cause its collapse followed by option 1.

    ....So which option do you prefer?

    ....Besides, do you still have the choice, or it may be too? Regime in crumbling? Defections from the Army? Sure it takes place, but what is the weight of these defections?

    US obviously wants plan A, and the overall approach of US boils down to:
    1. Identify evil;
    2. start war against it;
    3. once the initial evil is destroyed, identify a new one an proceed until American people get tired;
    4. find the least evil party among whatever left after stage 3 and make a compromise;
    5. mission accomplished

    Russia, to say it politely, supports the Assad regime thus far, so it is toward plan B.

    Regarding Russia's moral standing:
    Shelling of cities by Syrian Army? Innocent women and children got killed? All this takes place. Definitely, I saw very credible evidence in youtube that shelling takes place. Tanks repeatedly hitting specific buildings in what appears to be an almost deserted city. The videos are often of much better quality than what you see in here CNN and without any evidence of editing. Based on the sounds, its shells fired from a distance. Never missiles. And never salvos, single shots repeated at irregular intervals. The problem is that I do not know how to interpret these videos. May be it is army acting against some kind of snipers, or whatever... I cannot speculate. There are witnesses who gave interview, but these witnesses are from all sides, both pro and against Assad, so if necessary one can select witnesses to twist the story either way, depending on political preferences. Women and children killed? Yes. At first, Sec. Clinton flatly blame it to Syrian Army. Then it turned out that the character of their wounds is not shrapnel, but rather bullets fired from short distance and some were even stabbed. So Sec. Clinton revised her interpretation saying that it is not Syrian Army, but pro-Assad militia. The way how she interprets the events is basically at first Syrian Army using tanks and artillery shells a city, then pro-Assad thugs are let forward and commit all these crimes. Based on other wars, notably Chechnya 1st and 2nd, as well as Iraq, and (to a lesser degree Afghanistan) this actually looks like the standard mode of operation: first shelling the area and trying to suppress whatever resistance, then spetsnaz (marines, thugs, whatever you call them) come forward and "sweep" the area. This involves going into the houses, kicking doors, sometimes throwing grenades insides, and sometimes... yes... killing innocent civilians. What, however Sec. Clinton does not take into account is that in military terms advancing and sweeping territory is a hard and very expensive process in terms of casualties sustained by the attacking side - spetsnaz (marines, etc...) are getting ambushed and killed, no matter how hard they trained themselves for this type of operations, while holding territory (setting up block posts, etc) is relatively inexpensive, so every once a territory is taken and secured, no rational military commander would give it up. Yet, according to Sec. Clinton, it appears that Syrian Army shells it first, then thugs came and commit crimes, then all of them leave the area and opposition comes and reports the crimes. Do we have to believe it?

    June 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
    • lyle

      we shood have taken russia out in world war 2when we had the chanes whats going on now is in the bibel we all need to pray no one will win world war3 you can not trust any of the world leaders usa leaders dont care about there own we all have jobs russia and china and the usa need to all 3 go to gether and get read of this bucher and get along if thay dont it will be bad for all of us may god be with us all.

      June 22, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
      • Paul

        Would have been extremely difficult to take out the Soviet Union in 1945. Nukes would have been the only advantage. They had lots of better tanks, very good and large air force, lots of extremely battle hardened troops and commanders. Would not have been anything easy and no doubt would have ended in some sort of stalemate. Might just as easliy have been pushed off the continent.

        June 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
      • AlexShch

        lyle: Your yourself actually told what you problem is: lunacy.

        If you keep repeating the same thing again and again, you start believing in it and loosing sense of reality. this is what happened in US decision making process: politicians have to make decisions not just based on the info available, but also take into account how they are being viewed by their electorate. This in its turn causes long rhetorics and eventual disconnect from reality.

        June 22, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Scot B

      Thoughtful comments AlexShch–It is good to see some thoughtful comments in contrast to the usual .... stuff.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
      • Natalya-from-Minsk

        I completely agree with you, Scot B! Absolutely enjoying reading AlexShsh comments.

        June 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
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