Russia’s Putin Holds World Attention And North Korea Takes Advantage
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a shot across the bow of President Barack Obama with an op-ed in The New York Times asserting that “Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue” in Syria and seeks only to protect international law, not the Syrian government.
“We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not,” he writes.
The piece drew astonishment from most lawmakers in the United States, including from Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Robert Menendez, who said, “I wanted to vomit.”
While officials throughout the US and Europe welcomed the “pause” in tensions over Syria, Terry Glavin of the Ottawa Citizen warned that a failure to hold Assad to account will “will surely one day produce something along the lines of the ‘blowback’ thing we hear about from time to time.
“No matter who prevails in the Syrian conflict, even in the best-case scenario of the secularist and democratic revolutionary forces emerging triumphant, it is surely too late to do anything about that,” Glavin cautions.
Are Geopolitics Driving Advocates Of Syrian Intervention Michael T. Glare of The Nation contends the move toward intervention in Syria is about “more than chemical weapons.
“Although Syria is not itself a significant oil producer, it lies adjacent to many of the major suppliers and has long served as a host for pipelines connecting the Gulf to the Mediterranean. More importantly, in recent years, is has assumed strategic importance as an ally of Iran and a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he says. It is about geopolitics.
“If the United States cannot extricate himself from the geopolitical imperatives posed by Iran’s continuing threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the safety of Persian Gulf oil supplies, it cannot extricate itself from the turmoil in Syria. Because a failure to confront Assad’s excesses could be viewed as giving Iran and other outside powers a green light to meddle in the Syrian conflict, and could be seen by the Iranians as an indication that they can continue to stockpile enriched uranium with impunity, US leaders see no choice but to become involved in Syria.”
World Attention On Syria As North Korea Moves
As global attention is focused on Syria’s chemical weapons program, North Korea is reported by The New York Times to have resumed production of plutonium for its small nuclear arsenal.
According to the US-Korea Institute, the reactor, used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, was shut down in 1994 as part of the US-North Korea Agreed Framework, but smoke has been seen emanating from it. North Korea announced its intention to restart this reactor.