On Thursday the United Nations Security Council began voting on whether to increase sanctions on Syria while adding the ‘threat’ of military intervention in response to the crisis that has taken over the country and left more than 14,000 (almost entirely civilians) dead. More than four months ago President Bashar al-Assad began a brutal crackdown on anyone whom he perceived to be questioning his totalitarian regime.
Of the 15 member states of that international body two abstained, Pakistan and South Africa. The vote was 11 to 2 with Russia and China vetoing the U.S.-backed resolution. It is time for the entire world to recognize that Syria is now in an all out civil war, brought about by al-Assad, putting hundreds of thousands of its own citizens in grave danger.
The civilized nations of the world have held their collective breath while US Ambassador Rice over the past four months has cobbled together agreement after agreement only to have al-Assad and the thugs surrounding him thumb their noses at the rest of the planet. They have killed, maimed and destroyed town after town with impunity while a diverse coalition of hopeful nations attempted, to no avail, to bring pressure to bear upon this brutal Dictatorship.
So why in the world would Russian and China both put forth a veto? Why do they appear to be acting in concert to keep this dictator in power? For Russia it is a simple as a child’s game of checkers, the moves and the motives are easily identified. For China, the path cannot be as easily identified. Chinese Checkers if you will.
In the case of Russia, it is glaringly evident; Money and influence. The port of Tartus is the only port that Russia has on the Mediterranean Sea and serves as a logistical supply center for naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Indian Ocean. Syria is also a major consumer of weapons from the former Soviet Military and these ongoing payments are counted upon by those currently in power within the Kremlin and Soviet Military. Other nations that buy, or are willing to buy, Soviet weapons are learning that any brutal totalitarian regime could be shielded from UN Military interventions.
On the world stage with Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya governments loosing control any government may need a bloodbath to hold its own masses in check. The dictatorial dominos are falling all around them. Russia’s Syrian strategy will bode well in the coming months for any rogue nation encountering increased internal opposition. Buy Russian Weapons and the United Nations will be sidelined if mass elimination of your own citizens is called for. Call it and insurance policy against United Nations Intervention.
For China, it is a bit more subtle. China is buying oil from Iran during the embargo. China watched the Saudis put down the rebellion in Bahrain. China has sweet heart deals with Angola. But more than anything else the other regimes in the region that are not based on the democratic form of government are watching. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and the list goes on and on. These other, less brutal, regimes do not want to set up a template for United Nations intervention that later could be used upon them. So, the rest of the region would like this to be solved without removing the ruthlessly brutal unelected government in charge. China certainly would not be for a strategy that invades a sovereign country over something as insignificant as the lives of its citizens. China may well see their own government being besieged by its now growing middle class.
When the United Nations could not agree on a strategy Bill Clinton called upon NATO to enter Bosnia to stop mass executions. The halls of congress went into riot mode. Both sides of the aisle complained with one side much more vocal than the other. Clinton said he did not care because it was the right thing to do. Within a year America watched as more than 250,000 grateful citizens (almost all of them Muslim) cheered during his outdoor unprotected speech. He was truly a savior of these families. He walked through those crowds freely shaking hands of any of those who were able to reach him. The Secret Service was scrambling, what in the world was he thinking. He was thinking it was the right thing to do. He was safe, why not even so much as a single shoe was thrown his way.
Turkey is in NATO. Let’s hope that Hillary is returning their phone calls.