-Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (Left) & U.S. Secretary of State Kerry (Right)-
As we learned this past weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have agreed to the framework of a deal that would lead to the U.N. security council to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons, and dismantle completely his chemical weapons program by mid-2014. With the U.N. expected to vote on the measure early this week. A measure that would enable the U.N., under chapter seven of the U.N. Charter, to use both military and non-military means to punish Assad if he does not comply by handing over an exhaustive inventory of his chemical weapons program within a week. In other words, as both John Kerry and President Obama reiterated after the announcement of the deal, the threat of force by the U.S. is still very much on the table.
Yet, even with this new deal in place, many Republicans, most notably Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are unimpressed by the way things have gone for the U.S. in regards to Syria. This is because of their concerns over Russia's true intentions and integrity, as well as how easily the U.S. was swayed away from the use of force by Russia in the international arena. So does this new agreement and the way Russia so easily pushed the United States into diplomacy over force really demonstrate a shift in the world order as many Republicans suggest?
Let us begin by addressing the first issue raised by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, that by letting Russia get involved you are not helping the situation. To start with, the entire premise for this concern is faulty, since Russia has been involved heavily in Syria since the Cold War, so to suggest that the United States is somehow allowing Russia some measure of control in an area that was previously solely under the United States' influence is false. In fact, it is the other way around, Russia has always held influence and control over Syria, and the United States is the one poking its nose where it doesn't belong.
Moreover, while Russian integrity is at best suspect, the Russians desire stability in Syria, even more than the Americans do. Since, the reason Syria is under Russian domain is because it is a key strategic warm water port in the Mediterranean for the Russian Navy. This means that the United States should have not only supported Russia diplomatically in solving the problem from the very beginning, instead of suggesting that we would solve it. The United States should have a dependable ally for stability and solutions in Syria while working with the Russians. Especially if President Obama backs away from his pipe dream of a Syria free of President Assad, and headed by a moderate and fairly elected democratic government.
Another factor that needs to be considered is that the American people never wanted to go to war in Syria. Leading to a situation where the more that President Obama attempted to persuade the American people that a limited strike was necessary, the more people thought about it and the fiercer the opposition became. Until it became blatantly evident that if a vote was taken on the proposed limited strike measure, even the Democrat controlled Senate would be forced to withdraw its support for it. Leading to the situation we saw unfold last Tuesday night (September 10, 2013), where the President had to back away and ask Congress to delay the vote on the limited strike measure.
So in all actuality perhaps the situation should not be described as a troublesome one, as far as Russia becoming involved is concerned; but actually a saving grace that they did. Since it allowed President Obama to appear as if he was taking the high-road of diplomacy over war, when in reality he had no clue what he was doing. All President Obama new was that chemical weapons had killed innocent civilians and being the naive hero that he egotistically believes himself to be, wanted the United States to step in and save the day. Also, it should be noted that the only reason the Russian's proposed such a plan was because they wanted to prevent U.S. interference in Syria; an action that does not reflect a power shift in the world order from America towards Russia, but an affirmation of the United States rightful place at the top.
In conclusion, the fact that Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are now attempting to get the limited military strike measure approved, just in case the new deal between the U.S. and Russia falls through, is disappointing to say the least. Since all they are doing as representatives of the other party, is mitigating Obama's foolishness, and pushing once more for a war that the American people don't want. An action that will result, if the limited strike measure or war is necessary, in the blame for this whole fiasco falling now on the heads of Republicans. Instead of on President Obama and the Democrats where it properly belongs.
As for the answer to the question, of whether or not this new deal represents a shift in the world order from America at its head, to now Russia? That notion is absurd, since the American people don't want this war and haven't wanted it from the very beginning, and Syria has always been well within the Russian sphere. Two realities that happened to have to smack President Obama across the face, in order for him to come to his senses and back away from his limited strike measure. A process that on the international stage wasn't pretty at all, but definitely made President Obama look stupid, more so than the United States look weak. Something that Charles Krauthammer, or "K-Hammer" as he has been affectionately dubbed by many, highlighted best when reacting to the President's address Tuesday. Stating that: 'this address [Obama's foolishness] does not undermine the United States credibility, since our credibility is a collective one.' Therefore, it is clear that all this new deal regarding Syria's chemical weapons program represents, is what should have happened in the first place. Diplomatic support from the United States for the Russians, as the Russians go about solving this crisis.
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Feel free to check more by clicking on the link(s) below:
Syria in One Week: Part 2 of 3 - Will Assad Hand Over his Nation's Chemical Weapons?
Syria in One Week: Part 3 of 3 - Assad Complies, So What Happens Now?