Britain’s problem with diplomacy

by on October 9, 2016 in International affairs

At the UN Britain has denounced the Russian veto of a resolution proposed by France on Syria as “the cynical abuse of the privileges and responsibilities of a permanent member of the UN Security Council”. [1]

The French resolution was quite simple. Given that the US can’t separate its ‘moderate rebels’ from Al-Qaeda then the Syrian government and Russia should stop bombing at all in Aleppo.

On the face of it then it appears that in their desperation to keep Aleppo from ‘falling’ to the legitimate government of Syria the West, including the UK, is willing to openly align themselves with Al-Qaeda. At the very least this is a complete reversal of the policy agreed between Russia and America to work towards a ceasefire between the Syrian government and ‘moderate rebels’ while agreeing that everyone can go after Al-Qaeda and ISIS. At the same time as they reverse their policy – an admission that they failed (to separate ‘moderate rebels’ from Al-Qaeda) – they continue to try to heap blame on Russia. Their manoeuvres are clear for all to see.

The new line is that there are only a ‘few hundred’ Al-Qaeda fighters amongst the ‘moderate rebels’ in Eastern Aleppo. So there is no excuse for Russia to be bombing. [2] But if that were really true surely the US would have been able to separate off their thousands of ‘moderate rebels’ from these “few hundred”? Obviously it is not true. The US is yet again lying at the Security Council.

Despite all this Russia continues to look for a diplomatic solution on Syria. The Russian side proposed a resolution, based in part on a UN proposal, for Al-Qaeda to leave Aleppo with their weapons. The Western nations of course vetoed that.

What the British representative fails to understand is that diplomacy is a two-way street. Bellowing “Stop Now” at foreigners [1] is so old-school. The idea of the UN is to bring all nations together to discuss world problems and try to resolve them. Simply ordering the foreigners to do what you want is passé.

And Churkin is right of course when he comments that Britain is supporting a “motely horde” (всякий сброд). A literal translation might be “any old riff-raff”. The UK is supporting the Free Syrian army – a disparate set of independent outfits many or most of which have now merged with much more right-wing Islamist groups. [3] The UK has sent “non-lethal” military aid. [4] And is involved in an intelligence operation based out of Jordan. [5] If anyone needs to “stop now” it is Britain.

Update

And this is the problem. The US – with its European ‘allies’ in tow – insists only on its own interests. It seems the US cannot conceive of a balance of interests, of negotiation. If it comes into conflict with another party whose interests differ the US does not try to negotiate. Rather they dirty the name of the other country, impose sanctions, and, if the country is small enough use their military power to smash it back to the Stone Age.  There is simply no concept of negotiation and meeting half-way. Their own interests and values are equated with world interests and values and they cannot accept that this is not the case. The driver for this is probably a ‘winner takes all’ attitude of American business.

Speaking to Russian media the Russian Foreign Minister sums it up quite well. [6] Larvov comments that Washington tries to arrange matters only in terms of their own interest. He explains that the level of aggressive rhetoric has escalated to aggressive steps which effects the security of Russia. He continues, saying that when John Kerry was appointed Secretary of State he and Lavrov agreed to talk in a grown-up way without childless resentments – but, in fact, this is all that they (Russia) receive.

It is a measure of the complete break-down in relations that Lavrov should feel he has to make such public comments – remarks which would be inconceivable in the context of normal diplomatic relations.

Notes

1. Life News

2. https://www.rt.com/news/362059-syria-aleppo-vote-unsc/

3. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-conflict-who-are-major-players-bloody-complex-civil-war-1522027

4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-what-the-west-has-given-syrias-rebels-8756447.html

5. http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/1490-how-the-uk-is-secretly-helping-to-stoke-the-flames-of-war-in-syria

6. Life News

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