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.

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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. chris

    so it appears that CNN's spin master Fareed has gotten the message from russia in regards to syria. makes no difference how many lies and propoganda based stories that he writes for obama,the russians are not goign to let a repeat of libya happen again.

    GOOD ON THE RUSSIANS FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING!!!!!!

    June 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Agreed. As I watched the arab spring unfold all I could say to anyone is " you don't know what you are supporting or getting aftewards". To me it was obvious. To people who work in intelligence it should have been easier and more obvious. And it has panned exactly as expected. Islamists in charge, possibly terrorist organizations involved or complete chaos, a great breeding ground for the above. Great job!! So when you support rebels in Syria, come on, what are you going to get? Anyone know? Most syrians have grown up to hate the US and Israel. Do you think putting in sunni muslims with ties to hamas, hezbollah and the muslim brotherhood is going to be a good thing? All this arab spring is leading up to a major war and the west is just being duped into making it happen.

      June 22, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  2. Albert Von Sachsen

    Moral standing? The only thing the Russians care is keeping their Syrian base and making money from arms sales. Their transition to democracy is non existent, they like making the US mad with their maneuvers, mainly because they feel diminished by their totally corrupt government and the state of disrepair of their armed forces. We have seen the high moral standards of the Russians in my country, now unified. We find it really funny that you are so naive as not to see the face behind the mask.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      I find you liberals very boring. All you do is repeat what CNN tells you. Why do you bother to express "your opinion"? Anybody who would be interested could always read it in the article above anyway, even before he starts reading posts below. I do not bother to read CNN articles: that is the only reason I am paying any attention to what you have to say.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
      • Nutjob

        Thats ok Andrey,
        I find you conservatives to be stupid.
        By the way, if you dont read CNN articles,
        how do you know what to post ?
        Just random garbage ?

        June 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Andrey

    I wonder why Russia must participate and approve what US and its satellites plan for Syria...
    The moral stance there would be: if you disagree – you say about that unambiguously and act accordingly
    The rational approach would be to abstain and let US and EU keep their suicidal course. Syria would be a small price for letting US and EU liberals further sacrifice their national interest to feed their own ambition. That is what I call rational!
    So the question is: will Russia abandon its moral stance and choose rational approach if US and EU liberals continue insisting on their nonsense? If I were in Putin's shoes I would probably let them have it: have another "victorious" war, do all the hard work and pay for it too! It is VERY tempting!

    June 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      This is true, except that what most likely to happen in this case is that US starts a shock-and-awe style bombing campaign against the Assad's regime focusing first on air defenses, then on ammo depots, communication, and infrastructure. No boots on the ground.

      Then guess what? NOVEMBER ELECTIONS! Inauguration of the next president. Loss of further interest to Syria (if Obama) or policy change (if Romney). Either way Syrians along with their fellow Arabs from neighboring countries end up sorting out among themselves whose prophet Mohammed was the true prophet and whose was not so true for the next 10 years.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
      • Andrey

        "No boots on the ground" is an illusion: it is only a delay. Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria with their multy-million Muslim population, resource, disparity and problems: add some al Qaeda there and let it ferment for 5 years.... You will need all the boots you have! US will be there military anyway, Syria or not. This is rather question of when and at what price... Unless it decides to forget about Israel: but I guess it can not do that. Russia can turn its back to Syria. US can not do it to Israel. Why? Beats me... 😀

        June 21, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • AlexShch

        No boots on the ground is the only option for the US right now. Any US politician who openly talks about committing ground invasion automatically becomes an instant political corpse: this is the present reality in US and this is not going to change. At the same time success in Libya inspiring. Never mind that it was not a controllable process, and it is not fully settle yet, but the prevailing opinion among American People that it was a huge success.

        Paradoxically, but true US military establishment is the most pessimistic pessimistic part of the society continuously warning that "Syria is not Libya". I have impression that Generals are by far the most peaceful people in the World: they are always reluctant to go to the war even in situation when everybody else have reached consensus. By everybody I literally mean everybody from hawkish Senators to Human Rights Activists (save those civilians, women and children get killed). This happens before every war. Even Wesley Clark was reluctant general back in 1999. Remember who said "If we have all this finest military, then what is this military for?"

        Russia can theoretically walk away from Syria. Just drop the support and was hands. Simply "abstain".

        US will never abandon Israel, no matter what, and this is another invariant in US internal political landscape.

        June 22, 2012 at 1:32 am |
      • Larry of the Dune

        AlexShch
        Israel and USA are friends.
        friend (frnd)
        n.
        1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
        2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
        3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.

        June 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  4. Linda

    I think Russia's correct in the sense that Americans usually DO mess things up more than it should. We DO step out of our boundaries and there are fatal mistakes that come along with it. However, Russia doesn't receive the main point–if we let the issue in Syria run rampant, we're telling ourselves brutality against a group is okay. What the US does is fight no matter the cost for rights. To some people, the cost of losing to win a long term goal is worse; that's okay because we all have our opinions. Personally, I side with the US's side (not because I'm American) but because I'm more idealistic.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      I do think that at heart the US wants to do good. But siding with any side in the arab muslim mideast is purely a mistake. Just as in supporting the arab spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, all that has happened is chaos and islamists in charge. Islam, being completely anathema to the american ideal, should never be supported. Get rid of the dictator and you either get another dictator or islamism, neither one good for anyone. But that is all they've ever had and can understand. Shouldn't like violent dictators and islam will always hate the west and the US in particular. So best leave it alone, don't waste money or western lives and let them sort it out. If they ever come around to some type or reformation, which I doubt could ever happen, then maybe they'll be fit to deal with on an equal basis. But until then, they are not worth the effort.

      June 22, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
  5. E

    Russia doesn't need to explain her actions to anyone because they moral or immoral they are protecting their common business interests which are threatend by Western backed terroists.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  6. Mike

    If the U.S. wanted to wage nuclear war with the rest of the world, every single one of you would've disappeared from the face of this planet about 50 years ago. Since that didn't happen (and continues NOT to happen), then maybe you should consider that maybe, just maybe, that this is not the U.S.'s primary objective. After all, this is not generally a country that shies away from flexing its military muscle when it feels a need to do so.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  7. TheIndependentThinker

    Funny that Russia claims the US is self-interested, when the only reason Russia is involved is to sell weapons and try to undermine the international community as a whole.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • TomCom

      How many weapons have we sold to the middle east? Is it different when we do it?

      June 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      Russian weapons sales have about zero economical impact on Russia. The sales are heavily subsidized and even then the credit routinely turns into bad debt which gets written off... That is just a way to keep its own weapons manufacturing industry alive and get a political tool as a by-product.
      So I have good news and bad news for you:
      The bad news are: the weapons sales and naval base crap are all rubbish CNN feeds to you to test how gullible you are....
      The good news: you have passed the test!

      June 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
      • slowloris

        Very true and very funny!

        June 22, 2012 at 12:15 am |
      • AlexShch

        Not always true, but in the context of Syria this is 100% true.

        In the case of India, Malaisia, Indonesia, and several other large nations the trade actually for real money, not subsidies and restructuring old debt.

        June 22, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  8. TomCom

    Bush and Cheney are guilty of war crimes, period.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • Kevin's Dad

      Are you able to elaborate?

      June 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  9. TomCom

    Don't fool youself. Most Wetern Europeans love to visit America but they would never live here. America has changed.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  10. Shamir

    I hope the Bahrain government soon has to deal with an uprising over there, because then we'll get to see how hypocritical America is yet again, when you are forced to defend your interests.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
    • U.S. Americans

      Shamir, these are completely different situations! They both just happen to be occurring in the Middle East, both just happen to involve corrupt governments murdering civilians, both just happen to involve a major world power with a naval base in the country ignoring human rights abuses to protect their interests, and both just happen!

      June 22, 2012 at 2:08 am | Reply
  11. Zooldr

    As an American Jew, I wish many years of health and prosperity to the great patriot and defender of freedom Mr. Bashar Assad and his family!

    June 22, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
  12. Paul

    Well the russians are seeing some things right. All this arab spring stuff, supposed to bring western style perfect democracies has been shown to be completely delusional. This has been touted by all the liberal left. But anyone with a grain of understanding should have known that a bunch of people that have never experienced anything like democracy will not suddenly know how to do it. They understand dictators and imams, both the same for the people, just different sides of the same coin. Russia has seen as I have that the arab spring has mainly created chaos and will unlikely turn out to be no good for the west or anyone else. So they stand by not interfering in foreign countries. I'd say well done. Let them sort it out on their own terms, see what comes out of it and deal with that reality whatever that may be.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:14 am | Reply
  13. maltesefalconx9

    Why not ease Netanyahoo from power and get it over with?

    June 22, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  14. maltesefalconx9

    The only thing stopping the Annan/UN plan is Ameikan interfering. Give the UN plan more time. That is the only way to achieve any worthwhile result, regardless of what the Butcher of Jerusalem wants in his power-mad grab for glory.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:25 am | Reply
    • Nutjob

      The UN plan will work.
      After Al-Assad has finished murdering the opposition,
      nobody left to fight.
      Win Win.
      Yipeeeeee.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  15. NoNotNever

    They say Assad is "Dictator" but – compare data below with that statement:
    -----
    Assad still has a lot of legitimacy within Syria, with more than 50 per cent of the population's support, political analyst Roula Talj told RT.

    “What is happening in Syria is getting extremely sectarian,” she said. “Massacres are being carried out against Assad’s forces, as well as Christians and Alawites – or indeed any citizen who is in favor of Assad.”

    Assad is not likely to give up his power the way the West wants him to, and with so much support, he has a good chance of being reelected during the next presidential elections in 2013, Talj said.

    “At that time he will offer an election under international scrutiny to make them as clear and as open as possible,” she said. “And then if he is reelected by the majority, he will stay. If not, he will leave.”

    June 22, 2012 at 1:27 am | Reply
    • Nutjob

      Saddam always won elections woth 99% of the vote.
      It helps to be the only one on the ballot.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  16. mike

    If we felt the same way russia does during WW2 the russians would be speaking german. What cowards.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:30 am | Reply
    • KEVIN

      mike, God help us if Russia and China ever agree to jointly involve themselves miltarily in the ME. They will kick our a**.

      June 22, 2012 at 3:28 am | Reply
      • Nutjob

        MAD is still in effect......moron.

        June 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Andrey

      You are bloody ignorant fool! Russians have lost 20 M people, they fought nazies for 4years they have stormed Berlin. You Americans only joined in the last few months of the war against Germany to prevent Soviets to take over the whole of Europe and fought Nazies when they were already broken and did not have much resource left: neither military no industrially. Thanks for help anyway of course: I am not going to call American people cowards or anything because of some small liberal s" like you!

      June 22, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • Larry of the Dune

        Typical islamist.
        Say anything to raise s h i e t.
        Same story, same ignorance, same stupidity.
        Get a job!

        June 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
      • Andrey

        Do not drink and post Larry, you are making fool of yourself!

        June 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
      • Larry of the Dune

        Does your imam know you take drugs Andrey?

        June 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
      • Natalya

        @Lary-of-Dune, you do realize Andrey is Russian, right?

        June 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
      • Larry of the Dune

        Muslims, like rats, have infested all countries.

        June 24, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  17. maltesefalconx9

    Ossetians are not Georgians They want to be free to determine their own detiny without the yoke of Georgian domination. After all, Joe Stalin was a Georgian.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
  18. U.S. Americans

    The human rights situation in Syria is terrible and requires international attention. However, I definitely understand the position of the Russian government. They have a naval base in Syria, so they feel that maintaining the status quo is best for their strategic position in the region. Their situation is not dissimilar from the situation of the United States in Bahrain and Yemen. Bahrain just recently went through a period of bloody political unrest that left many protestors dead. Yemen has a terrible human rights record. Why are these governments not the focus of constant attention by the United States and our media? It's because we have naval bases in those countries, and demanding action in those countries might jeopardize our strategic position in the region. Why do the United States and Russia not care about Darfur? Because there are no naval bases there... (U.S. Americans is a shout out to Miss South Carolina 07)

    June 22, 2012 at 1:46 am | Reply
    • KEVIN

      US, you are mostly correct about those countries you mentioned as having a strategic military interest to us. But the reason the countries are of military stategic interest to us is that they are foremost of a FINANCIAL NEED for us

      June 22, 2012 at 2:47 am | Reply
    • AlexShch

      You actually do not understand the Position of Russian Government because the so-called base in Tartus would not even qualify to be a naval base by US standards. These are not warships or any ships which are permanently based here or stayed for an extended period of time, in fact for more that a week at a time. 90% of the time the place has no ship of any kind anchored there. This is merely a place where a warship can stop and take provision of fuel. The personnel is about 100 people.

      Yes, Russia has interest in Syria, but this interest is not directly expressible in $$$. A large number of Russian citizens live there for various reasons, incl. specialists of various kinds, wives of Syrians (apparently quite a lot due to the past student exchanges back from Soviet times).

      Yes, Russia sells weapons to Syria, but again, the sales were quite limited during the last 20 years and are small fraction of what it used to be during Soviet times. Are we talking about repairing 20-years old Mi-24 helicopters? Big dial. Just last week US added 10 more brand new Mi-17s to the 12 already ordered for Afghan Army - that is actually more money. But all this is close to nothing in comparison with Russian sales to India, Indonesia, Malaisia, Venezuela and other countries.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
      • U.S. Americans

        Alex, ships actually anchored in port is not my point. The strategic value of having a place that your ships can be anchored, accepted, refueled and refitted in the Middle East is incredibly important to Russia. It's actually their last military base outside the boundaries of the former Soviet Union according to the NYT, so while it's "little more than a pier" according to the NYT, it's all they have in an important region for world politics.

        June 23, 2012 at 3:53 am |
      • AlexShch

        You are thinking purely in military terms. Yes, the offshore military base has strategic value in a hypothetical war against WHOM?

        And here are the problem: If the enemy is United States, then US can easily twist Turkey to close Bosphorus rendering the base completely useless. Any a other candidate enemy besides Unites States?

        The second question, since Russia does not have its own territory in this war theater, then: The war on BEHALF OF WHOM?

        Syria? Yes, Russia has interest in Syria. But Russia also has huge interest in Turkey as well. In fact, a very significant trade. Recently Russia has signed a contract to build a Nuclear Plant in Turkey among other things. Major construction works done by Turkish firms in Russia. Yes, some weapons sales to Turkey, although its only a small fraction of the overall trade. And unlike Syria, Turkey is not financially broke. Then what? Realistically speaking, if civil war in Syria will escalate into regional war, Turkey will definitely be involved, and guess what? Not on behalf of Assad. Then what Russia is supposed to do? Pick sides? I doubt that there is wisdom in it. Right now Russia has significant negotiating leverage and settling this Syrian mess somehow would be a major diplomatic victory for Russia with corresponding political and economic gains. Once this escalates into a regional war involving neighboring countries Russia's states instantly reduce to zero, because there is not much left to loose and also nothing to gain.

        June 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  19. KEVIN

    It is most ironic that we wish to FORCE freedom on people.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply
    • Joe

      We don't force when there's a desire!

      June 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
    • Larry of the Dune

      Yup, people do not want freedom.
      They want to be abused, worked to death for a pittance, and be forced to go to the mosque 5 times a day to be brainwashed.
      You so smart.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  20. KEVIN

    Think about this (I'm sure the Pentagon has): If Russia and China ever get together working as one militarily and wish to take over the ME; They could do so within @6mo. We may have advanced military tech. But Russia and China working together out number us troop-wise 100 to 1. And they need no Navy. They both border the ME by land. If Russia and China ever decide to get together and do this, they will kick our a**.

    June 22, 2012 at 3:51 am | Reply
    • AlexShch

      Complete rubbish.

      Both Russia and China maintain very potent ground forces capable to defeat anybody attacking their territories.

      At the same time Russia and China ability to wage war against a country in remote area far away from their territories is close to nothing in comparison with not only US and Great Britain, but also a country like France: basically Russia has just no more than 10 landing ships of "Caesar Kunikov" class capable to take about 150 fully equipped troops with few tanks and APCs. Just a single US Wasp-class ship of French Mistral can carry more than all these combined. China has even less.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
      • Natalya

        @Alex, who are you? You seem to have so much knowledge in the field of international relations & political science. You should write articles for CNN. I enjoyed your comments, very insightful.

        June 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • Debby

        OOOOOOOOOOH! bj COMING!

        June 24, 2012 at 10:15 am |
      • Natalya

        I assume that comes from your personal experience.

        June 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • nina

        .natalya this is not a dating site.

        June 25, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  21. 100 % ETHIO

    Ouch!
    Most of the above information has been gained through the Media. The Media itself is by opportunity for opportunists, without inserting the reality.
    These are called, politically correct by some and politically incorrect by others. Therefore, the TRUE is nowhere to be found.

    However, if you were participated as the TRUE Armies throughout what you wrote above (I bet, not even one of you were in that Warfield), you would reflect the TRUE based on your own experiences. But, others..., they are just telling US based on fictions and just for Money (Newspaper articles).

    Don't you remember those TRUE journalists, who died on the line of duties? They didn't even finished writing and Photographing the stories. So, who are you to provide a non-climax stories???? Keep it for yourself. No one is foolish herr, to read the rubbish.

    If you want TRUE story, go and stay on the line of duty. Which, you scare to die.

    June 22, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply
  22. Pharos

    I would say that the Russians are just acting like a bunch of lying defence lawyers.
    Their position is so morally corrupt, it boggles the mind.
    They have the law on their side, though, so they can watch Assad put the knives to children.
    The Russians are not wise. They are stupid enough to believe that we will buy their outright propaganda. Putin thinks he can pull the same crap on the world as his corrupt government did on the Russian people.
    Hey Putin! We have freedom of the press out here. Freedom of association. We can talk things over without being arrested! We HAVE talked things over. We have decided you are just a gangster, who is supporting the other gangsters of the world. You just go ahead and believe that you have us fooled. One day, you will need us, and we will spit on you, just as you deserve.

    June 22, 2012 at 6:16 am | Reply
  23. Lou Cypher

    The USA wants to bring "stability" to Syria, just like it brought "stability" to Iraq.

    And no one understands why the Russians question USA competency? Seriously? After what we just did?!!?!!1

    June 22, 2012 at 7:08 am | Reply
  24. KieranH

    Typical communist rhetoric.....

    June 22, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
  25. Raza usman

    No amount of creative writing can disguise the fact that the west pokes it s nose into other peoples affairs.
    Let people sort their own mess out.
    Keep your grubby fingers out of others business.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • Larry of the Dune

      Why?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • Natalya

        Because it's none of y'all business!

        June 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
      • Erin

        Natalya – you come from the South of Russia?

        June 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • Natalya

        No, Erin, I come from the North Pole.

        June 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • nina

        Well then that explains it

        June 25, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  26. Chukwuemeka

    In my opinion we need to ask who really is the villain. The United States rushed into Libya only for the Europeans led by France and the UK to upturn the Americans took over the hunt and ended up leaving the country worse than they met it. Now Syria is up and the europeans are pushing the United States into the same mess as Libya wihtout anyone having a rethink. Why is it that any country the United States gets into based on the recommendation of their allies(UK) that country always is worse off it?

    June 22, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
  27. Lou

    The U.S. only supports causes which serve the national interest. All talk of democracy, freedom, human rights, etc. is just a convenient smoke screen. Everyone (including the American politicians themselves) know it's all a game. The American media is in collusion and always has been. People all over the world are stupid sheep and will accept whatever their government tells them most of the time. It's always been this way.

    June 22, 2012 at 9:06 am | Reply
    • Andrey

      You might be wrong there Lou. I do not think destroying Assad's regime and delivering Syria into hands of Muslim fundamentalists is in America's best national interest. Some people want to play it safe: to have US military involvement at this stage to destroy Syrian army: to make sure al Qaeda does not get the country with army still functional – the Egypt way. That is not such an important consideration for US: it could easily sit it out on the ground of Arab Spring being instigated by America's enemies to destroy America's influence in ME (which is exactly what has happened). I am not sure if US politicians will act here exactly in accordance to the country's national interest. Not for the first time.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
  28. ART

    The day will come when Putin will be dragged through the streets of Moskow by his own Russian people. Andrey you are full of crap ,if it was not for the Americans you'd be a Nazi now.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Andrey

      ART please read my comment to mike: it applies to you too.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • Larry of the Dune

        Andrey read my message to your hairy b u t t = it certainly applies to you.

        June 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  29. DEATH TO ALL THINGS RUSSIAN

    If these blood thirsty and uncivilized animals insist each nation be able to sort out their own affairs they they ought to follow their own rules and stop arming one side over the other. That would be true non-interference, but the Russians are too feral minded, intellectually inept and morally bankrupt to see this glaring truth that even a mongloid could ascertain. RUSSIANS ARE FILTH. They are proving their true, satanic nature. They are lovers of war, suffering and inhumanity. Perhaps soon muslims all over the world will soon see that the great satan is not America afterall.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Andrey

      Wow! Great speach DEATH TO ALL THINGS RUSSIAN!
      Perhaps soon muslims (and not only them) all over the world will soon see that the great fool you are afterall.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
      • Larry of the Dune

        Bring on the caliphate.

        June 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
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