When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Shame And Insecurity: Why Russia Is 'Radioactive' After Syria Resolution Veto

Analysis: Russia’s decision to block a resolution condemning Assad regime is both morally repugnant and diplomatically short-sighted. The “river of history” cannot be stopped, and Syrians and the Arab world at large will remember Moscow's stance.

Moscow: Which way to turn? (Boris V)
Moscow: Which way to turn? (Boris V)
Clemens Wergin

This is the chronicle of a political and moral scandal. The brutal quelling of protests in Syria has been going on for 11 months now. According to United Nations estimates, 7,000 people have been killed, most of them victims of Syrian security forces.

Yet despite this, the international community has so far not managed to condemn the regime's extreme violence in unmistakable terms. Even after dramatic last-minute negotiations between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergej Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference, the Russians and the Chinese vetoed the latest UN resolution.

When the Arab League makes the UN Security Council look like an irresponsible organization then you know that the so-called new global order is not working. The Russians and the Chinese are damaging the little we have in the way of international mechanisms to resolve conflict. It is a moment of great shame for all those who believe that there are fundamental values shared by the whole of humanity.

It's difficult to understand the reasons underlying the Russian veto that the Chinese – in what seemed like an automatic reflex – were so quick to follow. After all, a compromise had been worked out with the Russian UN delegate in New York that took into account the Russian insistence to not repeat what happened in Libya where a resolution quickly led to a NATO assault.

But apparently Moscow lacked the will to see it through, insisting on more and more requests for changes, leaving the Western and Arab leaders to make only one conclusion: the Russians actually wanted to thwart the resolution.

Putin points

Vladimir Putin may have believed he'd score some points with this stand in his current presidential election campaign, seeing as the Libya resolution has come to be seen in Russia as a mistake. Russians felt deceived by NATO, and the resolution was perceived as a back-handed way of bringing about regime change.

At the Munich Security Conference, one US expert had another, broader interpretation: the Russians use their power of veto in the Security Council as a means of ensuring that they continue to be taken seriously.

Moscow may actually be quite jittery about the anti-authoritarian wave sweeping the planet, and this was meant to send a message to those Russians who have been protesting in the streets against Putin and the alleged fraud in December's parliamentary elections.

But whatever underlies the Kremlin veto, it remains a moral scandal. It's also bad foreign policy. Moscow can only lose, as the outraged protests in the Arab world show.

"You can't stem the river of history," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying in Munich. Indeed, it is not a question of if Bashar al-Assad's regime will fall, but when. And how many more dead it's going to cost.

Moscow's stance, meanwhile, will only wind up hindering its chances for positive relations with the new Syria that is being born as we speak. Post-revolutionary governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are also likely to seek distance from Moscow. Russia has become radioactive in the new Middle East. Through no one's fault but its own.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Boris V

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Extinction Rebellion climate activists protest in Melbourne, Australia, to denounce the ineffectiveness of ongoing COP28 talks when it comes to reducing global emissions.

Extinction Rebellion climate activists protest in Melbourne, Australia, to denounce the ineffectiveness of ongoing COP28 talks when it comes to reducing global emissions.

Emma Albright and Valeria Berghinz

👋 Akkam!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Israeli forces step up bombing of southern Gaza, the public inquiry into former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic opens, and fans of K-pop girl group Blackpink let out a sigh of relief. And if you’re looking for a break from all the grim news, we take you on a world tour of wacky races.

[*Oromo, Ethiopia]

Keep reading...Show less

The latest