March 04, 2014

Remember Back When We Didn't Want Russia Peace-Keeping in Syria

Good times, its worked out so well don't you think?

I for one was always for Russia doing its job in former USSR clients like Syria.

Now the Russians are in Crimea at the invitation of the Crimean Parliament. I've noticed that although they are showing force, Russian troops so far have been well behaved. No one has been killed and the predicted bloodbath has not occurred. Insomuch as they act in support of Crimean authorities when requested but otherwise only protect Russian assets and interests in the region I'm failing to see the problem.

Of course Putin is acting strongly, the main problem the west has with it is that it shows their lack of influence and power in that region. A region where we've never had any power or influence to start with.

Look, in winter all Russia's northern ports are frozen in, so the Black Sea ports at Sevastopol and other places are of serious national interest to Russia. Russia is to be an ally of the west, share and work for some of the same interests as the west. We need to treat then as such. Lord knows they have a serious Sunni extremist terrorist problem that even reached our shores last year in Boston.

Given we all have many common interests and we've welcomed Russia into the league of civilized nations since the fall of the Soviet Union, we'd be well served to work with them and issue statements of support rather than the saber rattling John Kerry and the Obama administration have been doing. Its more of Obama's knee jerk reaction to being shown to be limp wristed and weak in the leadership department than anything else.

Ukraine is going through a transition, a move away from Russian influence that had tipped just a bit too far for Ukrainian comfort. But Ukraine can never totally leave the orbit of Russian influence due to the fact they are neighbors any more than Ukraine can isolate itself from European influence. Its a crossroads of the east/west culture. In so much as the West and Russia can work together to bring stabilizing influences to this transition, this is a good thing.

Ukraine can expect little if any help from the west as far as boots on the ground in Ukraine, if Ukraine can keep stability in the north and prevent bloodshed as the transition is ongoing, more power to them. The more the Crimeans with Russian support can do the same in the south, the better.

What we all need to work for is an orderly democratic solution over time that allows Ukraine's national interest to be observed and all a parties to bring their concerns to the table in an open and honest fashion. After all that WAS the goal, the future we hoped for after the fall of the USSR.

Attempting to push Russia's influence and assistance out of these matters because Obama sucks at foreign policy just highlights that Obama sucks at foreign policy.

If Russia acts badly we need to quietly send the message to Russia that its acting badly, publicly scolding Russia in an area we have no business, let alone any power or influence to back up a public scolding is folly. While in public praising what they are doing right.

Privately: "We recognize your interests in Crimea but could you be a bit more subtle about it."

*Publicly: "Although Russian forces are in Crimea Putin has shown remarkable restraint and we're pleased that to this point the result has not been more bloodshed. We hope Russia can continue to show restraint and help bring about a peaceful resolution while respecting the concerns of all sides in the matter."

See, this isn't so hard.

We didn't want Russia to assist Syria, its former client, in helping keep the peace and stop its civil war from spinning out of control. Now instead of us looking out for protesters and minorities who wanted to see their rights taken into account look at what we have at present in Syria. Assad didn't go and its a destructive civil war, a country destroyed. Taken from a Middle Eastern vacation state and transformed into another Afghanistan. A failed state with its heritage in ruins, no end in sight.

A better result with Russian help might have been a preserved Syria that would be better not only for the Baathists that rule but for the rest of Syria.

Now since Ukraine there is little or no hope of directing Russia's influence back to Syria to push Assad to dispose of his chemical weapons. Russia will do little now in Syria except supply arms to the regime, it has time and attention for little else.

Rather than give Russia its due and let it act in areas where it can, we spend our time issuing impotent statements about consequences. In Ukraine and Syria we have little or no power to do the things that really matter, Russia could and should be doing the heavy lifting. But sadly our administration is stuck trying to put lipstick on the pig that is Obama's foreign policy. In the process we only look weaker and more foolish. Putin must be having a really good laugh.

Even if Putin decided to invade all of Ukraine, which I seriously doubt he will, there's not a damn thing we can do about it rather than have an all out war. A war we're not prepared to fight nor to win. A war that would be a step back for all parties involved.

Exit question: Is the problem between Putin and Obama due to the fact that both are leftist socialists, and as the leftist Alinsky tells us, the other should always be treated as "the enemy". I've found myself wondering as this unfolds just how much these leftist principles have thrown a wrench into efforts for countries that should be allies, that are allies, to work together in solving these problems.

I for one am not willing to go back to the days where Russia is our enemy. Although the cold war did have the added benefit of keeping a lid on much unrest around the world as it watched the two big dogs fight. The Russian did have sense enough not to nuke us and we had enough sense not to nuke them.

So lets not test that again because, well I think the Russian still have sense enough, but I'm not too sure about Obama. Iif this kid's foreign policy aptitude were gasoline, he wouldn't have enough to run a piss ant's Prius half way around the Oval Office.

*Or some shit like that.

By Howie at 02:53 PM | Comments |