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View Diary: The Putin Doctrine (55 comments)

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  •  Well Yes... (3+ / 0-)
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    sviscusi, scott5js, Fogiv

    That's right. And not helped by the charismatic fluffing that Putin's enjoyed in recent weeks.

    My point isn't to address the pros and cons of US policy in response to the Syrian crisis, although that's something we could do, but to have a look at what Putin's really doing here.

    Most neo-cons are making the argument that this is a proxy war, a conflict between Sunnis on the one hand and Shi'ites on the other; US and Russian proxies respectively. I'm saying that's nonsense; Putin is setting a marker for despots and tyrannies worldwide and using the legalities of the UN to reinforce his case. That's a novel approach and he's got Iran and China aboard.

    I'm suggesting we are going to have think about strategy; how we use the UN to further egalitarian principles and not let it be used for the opposite purpose.

    As I wrote, it seems Putin is inverting the Truman doctrine, standing against free peoples coercing totalitarian states. That's a problem going forward and he's got a case we need to have a sound argument against; it is defensive, fearful and cruel.  Putin is afraid of losing power himself but he is trying to leverage that fear into a policy which appeals to other authoritarian states whom might further his ambitions. It really is all about the veto on the Security Council and he is going to milk it for all it is worth.

    •  If Putin didn't veto U.S. UN action, China would (5+ / 0-)

      Aside from re-phrasing some cold war-era talking points, I don't understand what point you're trying to make here, frankly.

      Syria ain't Chechnya.

      No, IMHO, the neocons and conservatives (in both parties) are making it all about Putin/Russia and al Qaeda. Objective observers are noting it is a proxy war; and the "rebels" are heavily influenced by al Qaeda, for sure.

      The U.S. has, historically (over the past 30+/- yrs, in any event) shifted its allegiances (back and forth, as the situation warranted it) as far as al Qaeda's/Taliban is concerned.

      Read tonight's Reuters article, IMHO, which I've blockquoted, above, for one of the more objective pieces I've read on the subject in the past few days.

      Have you bothered to do any research on Tartous (Tartus)? It's the only remaining base for Russia outside of Russia. It's comprised of a couple of warehouses, a tiny barracks and some sheds, for all intents and purposes. There are, roughly, a dozen people there at any given time.  (I believe there are even fewer there now.) Look it up on Wikipedia.

      Russia's a shell of what the U.S.S.R. was. It's basically an energy-producing state, nowadays.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:28:34 AM PDT

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      •  OK (1+ / 0-)
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        Well I'm actually making the opposite case, that Syria is a lot like Chechnya, and that Assad's mentor will run interference for him while he reprises the brutal suppression of an insurgency using the same methods of authoritarian intimidation. That's exactly what I'm saying.

        Not sure what you are saying about the 'proxy' argument, frankly, but it seems the long and short of our perception and in reality there are plenty of Islamist Syrian insurgents whom probably deserve sympathy on the grounds of being victims of a totalitarian regime. And there are plenty who are salafist fanatics too, mostly from outside Syria or fighting with foreign led groups. Enough that the US has an almost impossible obstacle in supporting the insurgency. And yeah Russia has some kudos from Iran and Hezbollah for fighting the good fight against the Sunnis but it doesn't strike me as the issue they are willing to go to the mat over.

        Let's be clear, a few days ago there were ten Russian warships in the Eastern Mediterranean; that's probably as good a Russian naval showing as we've seen since Tsushima. Sort of kidding there but still.  I agree that the military infrastructure of Russia is still a bit shaky but it is not for want of trying; they are running a considerable military budget. It is a bit frustrating to Putin, to be sure, but if we conceive of the Russian military as it was in the 1990s we are missing the point. Sooner or later it will be capable and the will to use it is already evident.

        As for Tartus there is potential there but it is hardly a strategic base; looking at Russian naval strategy going back to the 19th century they have had a pretty spotty history with forward bases outside of their sovereign borders. Port Arthur, the example that springs to mind, was a disaster in spite of building an overland rail link which just doesn't seem to be an option in this case.

        The Reuters piece is balanced but seems a bit of a summary piece, not sure what you were getting at there but noticed this quote:

        Speaking of the U.S.-Russian deal, Syrian minister Ali Haidar told Moscow's RIA news agency: "These agreements ... are a victory for Syria, achieved thanks to our Russian friends."
        While the airstrikes roll in; terrific. That rather supports the argument I'm making, doesn't it?
      •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
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        scott5js, Fogiv
        If Putin didn't veto U.S. UN action, China would.
        That's exactly the point. But why? Sure China is going to be inclined to vote the status quo in the balance of power. But if we are going to operate with the UN as our dispute resolution mechanism we need to learn what motivations might put a little daylight between Russia and China. At the moment they have a lot in common as authoritarian states with potential insurgencies within their own borders.
      •  China (2+ / 0-)
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        scott5js, Fogiv

        While the bear is away the dragon will play:

        Alexander Rahr, research director of the German-Russian Forum and an expert on Russia and Central Asia, believes President Vladimir Putin actively decided to allow the Chinese into the region as a tactical move to keep relations good with its powerful neighbor in the east.

        "I think this was a firm choice, a difficult choice, but it was made," he says. "He cannot afford to have geopolitical battles with NATO and the West on the one hand and, parallel to that, battles with China for influence in Central Asia."

        Kremlin Calm As China's Clout Rises In Russia's Backyard Radio Free Europe 16 Sep 13

        That's the thing about geopolitics, something always has to be allowed to slip away.
    •  you should really be diarying (5+ / 0-)
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      Johnny Q, ukit, LaFeminista, PhilK, shaharazade

      about the Obama Doctrine, which he declared quite explicitly in Sweden--much more explicitly than your vague, murky "Putin Doctrine."

      Apparently he, like you, thinks that unilateral US military action absent a UNSC resolution does not violate the UN charter. That is a more radical position than Bush ever took.

      It really is all about the veto on the Security Council and he is going to milk it for all it is worth.
      You are aware we have vetoed more UNSC resolutions than any of the other five permanent members?
      Since 1970, China has used its veto power eight times, and Russia (and the former Soviet Union) has used its veto power 13 times. However, the United States has used its veto power 83 times, primarily in defense of allies accused of violating international humanitarian law. Forty-two of these US vetoes were to protect Israel from criticism for illegal activities, including suspected war crimes. To this day, Israel occupies and colonizes a large swath of southwestern Syria in violation of a series of UN Security Council resolutions, which the United States has successfully blocked from enforcing. Yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists that it is the Russians and Chinese who have "neutered" the Security Council in its ability to defend basic human rights.
      So Russia would have to veto almost eight times as many resolutions as they have in order to "milk it" as much as the US has.

      If there is any nation acting like a rogue state in the Syria brouhaha, it's the US. Not Russia.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:36:21 AM PDT

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    •  There's not much "free" about the Syrian rebels... (1+ / 0-)
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      And glibly ignoring the role of religion in the conflict allows advocate of American imperialism to prattle on about freedom. And bombs.

      And what's the real argument against containment as directed against the US? I don't see one.

      "Toutes les guerres sont civiles, car c'est toujours l'homme contre l'homme... (All wars are civil wars, because it's always brother against brother...)" - Francois Fenelon (1651-1715)

      by Superskepticalman on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 04:21:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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