The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Putin and Syria an unsurprising UN Veto

Joe: some interesting observations by David Meyers regarding Russia’s Putin and his veto of the U.N. resolution against Syria. However his view is kind of naive, no one gives up power and control willingly and Putin's action are in many ways expected and fit his world view. Russia is not our ally and neither in China. Below are some key paragraphs. -Bob

Putin’s folly: Why Syria could hasten the end of the Russian despot

By David Meyers Published: 3:07 PM 02/06/2012
Vladimir Putin, once viewed as an adept politician, is stunningly out of touch. His close confidants are fleeing in droves, revealing the systemic corruption in his government. His poll numbers are dropping, raising the possibility that he may not win on the first vote in the upcoming (and rigged) presidential elections. And on Saturday, a record number of Russians defied freezing temperatures and threats of persecution to call for his removal.
How does Putin respond? By vetoing a U.N. resolution calling on the Syrian president to stop murdering his people. Instead of trying to counter his image as a totalitarian despot, Putin has doubled down. Instead of trying to recast himself as a supporter of human rights, Putin has told Russians that he won’t provide any meaningful reforms. And instead of trying to quell a restless Russia, Putin has cast himself as an enemy of democracy and freedom.
Putin has calculated that standing with despots like Assad is the best way to prevent an “Arab Spring” in Russia. But he has made a serious error. Putin’s decision will only increase his unpopularity at home and abroad. And if Assad falls, the Russian people will be even more emboldened to remove Putin.
Putin vetoed the U.N. resolution because he fears that the West will use similar tactics to remove him. This reeks of delusional paranoia. First, Putin isn’t using mass murder to stop an uprising in his country (not yet at least). Second, it seems unfathomable that the U.S. and its allies would ever dare try to use military force to oust Putin. And any effort to undermine Putin in the U.N. would be useless due to Russia’s veto in the Security Council.
Instead, Putin’s decision to stand with Syria will actually increase the chances of a revolution in Russia. By standing with Assad, Putin has solidified his image throughout the world as a despot and an enemy of freedom. If a full-fledged revolution does arise in Russia, Putin will now have even less support across the globe.
More importantly, Putin has sent a message to his own people: He will not support any meaningful reforms, he will not embrace democracy and human rights, and he supports using violence and murder to help tyrants maintain power.
Russians now clearly see that the only way to end the corruption, human rights abuses, and violence is to get rid of Putin. And if Syria falls, despite Russia’s best efforts to help Assad, the Russian people will see Putin as a more fallible and vulnerable target.
David Meyers served in the White House from 2006 to 2009, and later in the United States Senate. He is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University. His personal website is

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