Thursday, 23 August 2012

Syria and the Lessons of 1914.

A brilliant analysis of the stakes in Syria has been written by historian Mark Almond ( East and West on a Collision Course on Syria  Daily Mail July 22nd 2012 )

'Hillary Clinton threatens Russia and China ‘will pay a price’ for their vetoes over sanctions against Syria. But how does Washington intend to punish these nuclear-armed states? Tough talk requires a follow-through, otherwise it is a sign of weakness. Tying Washington’s prestige to who controls Damascus risks subordinating America’s interests to one faction in a civil war....

The West’s support for humanitarian intervention in civil wars cuts no ice in the East. Russia and China see human rights and democracy as threats to their regimes and regard such rhetoric as a cover for grabbing resources while the West still can.

This puts East and West on a  collision course. Our leaders are talking past each other. 

This distrust is made worse by the fact America’s power is declining. Instability follows because regional players are not pawns  as they were in the Cold War, and sometimes they set the pace. 

In 1914, the really big powers let their smaller allies make the running. During the Cold War, Washington and Moscow reined in their reckless allies. Now, however, East and West are squaring off over Syria today, and Iran probably tomorrow. 

Moscow and Beijing don’t really control the Assad regime, let alone Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Washington knows Israel will make its own decisions and has limited influence over the Saudi-Qatar axis which is pouring money, weapons and even special forces into Syria....'

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