Russia Would Not Get In Way If World Decides Not To Strike Syria
Moscow, Russia August 28 (AP) – Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov told reporters at a press conference this evening that if the Western powers decide to abandon their intention to launch strikes against its ally Syria, Russia would not impede the move.
A longtime supporter of embattled Syrian leader Basher Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his foreign policy team not to oppose the supporters of the Syrian rebels in the event that those allies decide to continue not aiding the rebels militarily against Assad’s forces. The death toll in the two-year-old conflict has surpassed 100,000.
The announcement marks a clear shift in Russian strategy, which until now has focused on countering Western efforts to bolster Assad’s opponents. The new approach, says Near East Institute analyst Mark Mywords, takes a more circumspect approach that recognizes other countries’ ability not to intervene. For some countries, their ability even exceeds that of Russia, though the US and Iran, historically, have been loath to use it.
“What we’re seeing is a new appreciation by the Kremlin that sometimes the most effective form of inaction is to let others perform the non-action,” he explained. “In the rush to abandon much of the Communist government legacy, Russia was quick to let go of generations-old incentives not to do anything. But a resurgence of nostalgia for the simpler old times, as rough as they were, has prompted the leadership to revisit many of the Soviet practices such as providing no reason to do things at all, since the end result will be the same anyway,” he continued.
The change presents Washington and other Western governments with a new opportunity not to act, coming as hundreds of thousands of Americans have made a point not to demand US action. The Obama administration continues to weigh its options on how best not to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, despite a vow by Obama that any such development would not be tolerated by the international community.
Discreetly getting out of the way of someone else’s not doing anything has a venerable history, according to military historian Anne Nabler, author of See No Evil, See No Evil. “Perhaps the most famous example of not standing in the way of non-action is the world’s reaction to Hitler’s annexation of the the Czechoslovakian Sudetendland in 1938,” she wrote in an e-mail. “But history is rife with nations standing idly by while other nations stand idly by.”