Thursday, September 12, 2013

Russia’s position on Syria is all about constraining America

Brad Plummer talks with Dmitri Trenin, Russia’s position on Syria is all about constraining America

At a minimum Russia wants to achieve U.S. non-intervention in Syria. The medium-term goal here, although it’s pretty high up, is resolution of the Syrian issue, with some kind of political resolution. But the larger goal, the really big goal is forcing the United States back into the U.N. Security Council-centered international system.

There were many things that struck me in that op-ed, an it’s hard to deconstruct or summarize in a sentence. I think Putin is basically saying something that a lot of people will find objectionable — that the United States has been soaring above international law and it’s time the country to return inside the framework of international law as codified by the United Nations charter, especially with the Security Council."

I didn't know this:

Syria is marginally important. It’s important as a market for Russian arms. But Russia is not involved in the geopolitics of the Middle East the way the Soviet Union was, so Syria’s not important as a foothold in geopolitical terms. There are some other things like the Tartus naval facility [a naval station in Syria and Russia's only resupply spot on the Mediterranean], but I would say they are relatively marginal in Russia’s thinking here.

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