Russia is always wrong – right?

White propaganda poster “For united Russia” representing the Bolsheviks as a fallen communist dragon and the White Cause as a crusading knight. Wikipedia


For my entire life, one fact has remained evident, constant and true – Russia is always wrong.  Russia turned wrong long before I was born; it turned wrong in 1917 when the Bolsheviks overthrew the existing Russian government and established what was to become the Soviet Socialist Republic.  But whatever they called themselves, we have always called them wrong.

There may have been some exceptions;  brief periods, such as the last days of Soviet Russia under Mikhail Gorbachev, or in the early years of the new Russia, when we were willing to give Russia a nearly passing grade; but the moments passed.  The new, post-soviet Russia promised to be everything we always knew was right; a modern European democracy and consumer society based in a strong capitalistic system.  However, it did not take long before it was clear that the Russian were doing it all wrong, both the democracy and the capitalist system got hijacked by saboteurs,  gangsters and institutional leftovers from the old KGB.

Twenty years into the new Russia the consumer society we expected, you know Russians driving American cars, shopping at Walmart and watching American television programs, is as far away as it always was.  Worse the democracy is more of a dictatorship or  a monarchy than anything else; the leader of Russia today is a case in point.  Putin when faced with term limits switched from president to prime minister and now has switched back – the king is dead – long live the king – King Putin.  Or as we lovingly call him around the campfires outside of Moscow, the little father, Czar of the Russians. This week Putin signed into law stiffer penalties for protesting – it seems he does not like to have people standing in the street demonstrating against his rule.  But at least Putin has not emulated the last Romanov Czar’s  Bloody Sunday in 1905, when the demonstrators were gunned down in the streets, not yet.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, those Russians are wrong – it is so clear to us that it is a cornerstone of our foreign policy – if Russia votes for it, we vote against it.  Now, in all fairness, the opposite is true for Russia – we are wrong and that is the cornerstone of their foreign policy.  And that brings me to Syria, the Russians are bound and determined to stop us and the United Nations from pulling a Libya in Syria.  A Libya would be where we sent in the bombers, armed the resistance and stayed until the evil dictator was gone.  Russia argues that the United Nations exceeded its own mandate in Libya and that strategy did not help to create a better state in Libya.  The Russians may or may not be wrong on the last point, it is still playing itself out and the final outcome is becoming more cloudy.

So Russia refuses, with China’s support, to agree to anything resembling the Libyan solution.  At ever juncture Russia vetoes or threatens to veto every action designed to bring down the Assad regime.  Russia argues that such actions do not address the opposition and its intents – and indeed ignores the crimes perpetrated by the opposition forces; further Russia argues that those actions are short-term solutions that will leave the country in a severe crisis – solving nothing and helping no one.   Russia is insisting on solutions that address both the Assad government and the opposition.  In its latest move, Russia is calling for a peace conference on Syria – and wants to invite none other than the devil state of Iran.  If you don’t think they have a hidden agenda, such as wanting to see arms or maintain an ally against the west, like the old Soviet policy, then the Russia logic is simple.  Iran is a major force and player in the region and therefore should be part of the solution, just as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the Arab League should be parties to the discussions.

But Russia is wrong, Russia is always wrong – Ms Clinton, former first lady of the land and currently our secretary of state is providing our official response.  No, no and more nos – not Iran, it is an evil, devil state and responsible for most of the problems in the region, including in Syria.  Never Iran – Russia is wrong about this, but of course and you and I both know, Russia is always wrong.  Iran is evil and dangerous, but Russia is just plain wrong.

However, just for giggles lets suppose they are not wrong; lets ask a few questions about the Middle East on our polices.  Did Libya turn out the way we expected?  Do we know who the opposition is Syria is and what government it would bring?  Do we know for certain whether the Assad government has committed all of the atrocities or whether some of them come from factions of the opposition?  No we know what other forces are at work in Syria with separate and potentially dangerous agendas, such as Al-Qaeda? Is Iran not a major power in the region?  Is Iran less important in establishing peace in the region than Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Egypt?

What harm would come from opening our minds and the discussion to opposing points of view?  No problem can be solved if you impose too many conditions on the methods you use to solve it – none.  Saying the Russians are always wrong, Assad is the sole criminal and that he must go, excluding one of three major states in the region from the discussion is imposing too many conditions and restrictions.  No one will find a solution that works for the people of Syria, satisfies our expectations or one that in the future we can be proud of our role in finding it will be found by simply saying the Russians (and now Assad and Iran) are always wrong.  No one is always wrong – not even your spouse.


1 Response to “Russia is always wrong – right?”

  1. 1 Bill Hanigan June 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Is Russia always wrong ? That is the question ? The suicide bombing in Damascus MAY have been Al Quaeda but the massacres in Sunni villages surrounded by Alawite villages seems to be fairly in the court of the Assad militias. The fact that the Syrian military tried to stop the UN advisors would support that view. The Russians are the main supporters of the Assad regime in financial and military hardware along with their sole ME port facilities. Putin is the ultimate party functionary cum authoritarian leader. Is Russia always wrong, not always, but yes mostly they are.

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