As tensions rise over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons and it becomes obvious the US and some of its allies intend to act militarily, Russia and China are issuing warnings against any sort of military strike:
Russia and China have stepped up their warnings against military intervention in Syria, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has called on the international community to show “prudence” over the crisis and observe international law.
“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” he said in a statement.
Of course it is interesting that our Nobel Peace Prize winning president would, if he can manage it, bypass both Congress and the UN’s Security Council. It seems eons ago that Mr. Obama was bashing then President Bush for supposedly ignoring the UN. In September of 2009, he announced:
“We’ve re-engaged the United Nations… We have sought…a new era of engagement with the world.” He would “begin a new chapter of international cooperation” and he promised “we will work with the U.N.”
Of course, both China and Russia have made it clear they won’t approve a strike on Syria via the UN Security Council which complicates matters for our supposedly UN oriented President.
As for using every opportunity to engage in diplomacy with Russia to find a mutually acceptable solution? Yeah, not so much:
Late on Monday, the US said it was postponing a meeting on Syria with Russian diplomats, citing “ongoing consultations” about alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Hours later, Russia expressed regret about the decision. The two sides had been due to meet in The Hague on Wednesday to discuss setting up an international conference on finding a political solution to the crisis.
As for China, it has warned Western nations shouldn’t rush to judgement:
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who may have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.
Meanwhile in Washington, war talk is spooling up:
In the most forceful US reaction yet, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday described the recent attacks in the Damascus area as a “moral obscenity”.
He said the delay in allowing UN inspectors to the sites was a sign the Syrian government had something to hide.
He said Washington had additional information about the attacks that it would make public in the days ahead.
“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality,” Mr Kerry said at a news conference on Monday.
“Make no mistake, President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”
For Kerry this must be tough, since he has, in the past, referred to Bashar al-Assad as his “dear friend”. And then there’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had her finger right on the pulse of Syria:
“There’s a different leader in Syria now,” she told CBS’s Face the Nation, explaining, “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”
Of course this desire to do something comes 2 years and 100,000 deaths after the start of the Syrian civil war. Apparently those 100k dead weren’t “heinous” enough to warrant action previously. Just not enough death to invoke the thin rational of “R2P”.
Russia is certainly not buying into this rush to action by the UK, US and France:
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday the West had not produced any proof that President Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons.
He was responding to suggestions from some Western countries that military action against the Syrian government could be taken without a UN mandate.
Mr Lavrov said the use of force without Security Council backing would be “a crude violation of international law”.
Funny how the worm turns sometimes, isn’t it? Interesting how a side that was lambasting a former president over supposed violations of international law are now silent as they watch as precisely what they previously condemned becomes reality.
And you have to wonder – where are the anti-war protesters?