Russia Should Ignore Washington’s Blind Arrogance
By Finian Cunningham
September 19, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "Sputnik"
- The trouble with arrogance is that it is
intellectually blinding; and the trouble with being intellectually
blind is that you fail to see your own contradictions – no matter
how preposterous those contradictions may be.
The arrogant ones we are referring to here are the United States and
its Western allies. In the past week, Washington has been up in arms
about Russia’s decision to step up its military support for the
government of Syria. The Americans are calling on Moscow for
“clarification” and are getting all hot under the collar about what
they say is unwarranted Russian support for the “regime” of Bashar
This finger-wagging from Washington comes at the same time that a
US-led military coalition continues to bomb Syria for nearly 12
This week, US warplanes striking Syria were joined by fighter jets
from Australia for the first time in those operations, which are
allegedly aimed at hitting the Islamic State terror group within the
country. France and Britain are also expected to soon join the
bombing runs inside Syrian territory.
Now hold on a moment. Let’s get this straight. The US and its allies
have appointed themselves to carry out air strikes on a sovereign
country – Syria – without having approval from the government of
that country, or without a mandate from the UN Security Council.
Thus, the legality of these US-led air strikes – which have resulted
in numerous civilian casualties – is therefore of highly dubious
status, if not constituting flagrant violation of international law.
Yet the arrogant Western
powers, led by the US, have the temerity to lecture Russia about its
decision to supply weapons to the government of Syria.
As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed
out, the military equipment being sent to Syria is consistent
with long-standing and legal bilateral agreements between the two
allied countries. Russia and Syria have been allies for nearly 40
There is nothing untoward going on – unlike the
Western aerial bombing campaign.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin went further
in defending the military aid to Syria by saying that it was
necessary to help its ally “fight against terrorist aggression”.
For the past four years, the Syrian national army
has been battling against an array of foreign mercenaries whose main
formations comprise al Qaeda-linked terror groups, such as Al Nusra
Front and Islamic State. Putin is correct when he says that the
Syrian government forces are the primary fighting front against the
jihadist terror networks.
If Western countries are
serious about defeating these same terror groups – as they claim
to be – then they should be supportive of the Syrian government,
as Russia is.
America’s top diplomat John Kerry says that Russia’s
support for Syria will “exacerbate and extend the conflict” and will
“undermine our shared goal of fighting extremism”. His Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavrov rightly dismissed Kerry’s objection as
Arrogance not only
blinds to contradictions; it evidently leads sufferers of the
condition to speak nonsense.
Here’s how the New York Times this week reported
the Russia-Syria development: “The move by Russia to bolster the
government of President Bashar al-Assad, who has resisted Mr.
Obama’s demand to step down for years, underscored the conflicting
approaches to fighting the Islamic State terrorist organisation.
While Mr. Obama supports a rival rebel group to take on the Islamic
State even as he opposes Mr. Assad, Russia contends that the
government is the only force that can defeat the Islamic
Note the arrogance laden in those words. With
breezy casualness, the Western view is that the Syrian leader has
“resisted Mr. Obama’s demand to step down for years”.
Again, just like the
presumed “right” to bomb a sovereign country, it is an American
presumed right to decide whether a leader of another state should
Who are the Americans or any other government
to decide something that is the prerogative of the Syrian people? At
this point, it should be mentioned by the way that the Syrian people
voted to re-elect President Assad by a huge majority – nearly 80 per
cent – in the country’s last election in 2012.
But here is the fatal contradiction in the logic
of the US and its Western allies. According to the New York Times,
Obama “supports a rival rebel group to take on the Islamic State
even as he opposes Mr. Assad”.
That proposition is simply not true. In fact, it
is delusional. Even the Americans have elsewhere admitted that there
is no “rival rebel group” in Syria. After years of pretending that
the West was supporting “moderate rebels” in Syria, the reality is
that the war against the Syrian state has been waged by jihadist
extremists covertly armed and bankrolled by the US and its allies,
Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Former director of the US Defence Intelligence
Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, in an interview with the
Al Jazeera news channel back in July, candidly admitted that
Washington was well aware that it was supporting the Islamic State
and other terror groups as the main anti-government forces. It was a
“wilful decision” said Flynn because Washington wanted regime change
Regime change, it needs
to be emphasised, amounts to criminal interference in the internal
affairs of a sovereign state. And regime change is something that
Washington and its European allies are all too habitually complicit
in, as with Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and
Ukraine in 2014, to mention just a few.
From that “wilful decision” by Washington, Syria
has been plunged into four years of unrelenting war with a death
toll of some 240,000 people. Over half its 24 million population has
been displaced, with hundreds of thousands surging towards Europe
in desperation. Terrorism has now become an even greater regional
security problem threatening to tear other countries asunder
through sectarian violence.
So, when Washington and its Western allies
pontificate to Russia about terrorism and what to do or not to do
in Syria, they are best ignored with the contempt they deserve.
Arrogant, blind and criminal are not qualifications
for international leadership.