“President Putin filled the vacuum that has been especially created by the United States’ half-hearted operation in the Syria conflict. Admittedly Washington also attacks Jihadists’ positions, however, its intensity creates doubt on its seriousness.”
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commenting in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” from 8 October 2015
Actually, the UN super summit in New York has passed by much too fast. No wonder certain images had no time to catch the attention of the viewers as they had deserved, drowned as they were in an excess of “refugees welcome” images broadcast every evening. In fact some very important images could be seen in New York and they should be remembered. They involved the Russian President Putin and became ever more impressive the more the American President was drawn into the picture as well. The difference was hard to miss and even the increasingly streamlined German press could not hide how contrite President Obama presented himself. His Russian colleague was the exact opposite. Putin looked as if he had enjoyed the time a lot since the G8 had thrown him out in a fit of self-isolationalism. Even in today’s media environment, images tell you more than a thousand words. It looks like Putin has used his time off US patronization very well. He was relaxed and had no problem showing it to the world.
The contrast to Western behavior after the pro-Western putsch in Ukraine was more than obvious. Especially considering the role of the Russian president at the Ukraine conference in Paris, which took place a few days after the UN super summit. Things have apparently been re-evaluated after the G7 meeting in Bavaria. In addition to NATO, the G7/8 meetings had always underscored the role of those events as promotions for US leadership and interests, as the “only remaining superpower” and the “indispensable nation”. When kicking the Russian federation out of this circle, the West finished this unnatural spook themselves. The world has changed since then, and visibly so.
Sad as it is, the recent murderous attack of the US air-force in the North Afghan city of Kunduz against a hospital, which was protected by international law, was not even necessary any more to convince people that the US stand for murder and slaughter in our part of the world – it is well-known and has been a world-political reality for two decades. The world patron of global misery, basically. It was outrageous to hear the US President lament the misdeeds of Assad before the UN. He himself and his drone murders should be measured by his own standards. He should also refer his two predecessors to the International Court in The Hague. The incessant telephone calls from Washington to Angela Merkel regarding the migration development makes one suspect that the orders from Washington are more willingly listened to in Berlin than the complaints from all parts of the country about the lawless state created by the government.
For some time now the political decisions of the Russian federation may be viewed as an alternative to all of this. One may look at the state of affairs from all conceivable perspectives, be it the insufficient investigation of the Malaysian airline plane downed over the Ukraine or the conduct of the Russian troops in Syria. Moscow sticks to the rules that had been imposed on Europe and the world after a murderous world war in order to prevent a third one from happening. On the other hand, one can only listen in horror to Washington’s statements from a European perspective. In a country which is totally bewitched by and dependent on the terrible potentials of their weapons, the Republican presidential candidates advise us of the imminent third world war. Considering how these people phrase their messages, the once proud and responsibly acting America must be all but finished. Murder and slaughter is the perspective should the disciples of Bush, Cheney and McCain get elected. Their democratic rivals, however, offer no hope either – after all everything started with Bill and Madeleine 16 years ago. Before that, however, there was Henry Kissinger and the attempt not only to overthrow international law in its accepted form, but to replace it by a new one tailored to American interests.
The pathetic remains of the once proud department of international law at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs say it all.
Just a few days after the anniversary celebrations of the German unification, it is more than necessary to remind ourselves of the crucial role international law had played on the road to re-unification. From the Helsinki-Conference of the year 1975 to the Charter of Paris in November 1990: It had been the framework of international law which made all this possible. There was a lot we could be proud of. Most of all the “crown jewels” of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the department of international law. Together with famous Austrian lawyers, Bonn proved their expertise in international law and became successful. Today probably almost nobody would even know this department still exists. This political void is unfortunately symptomatic for the whole country. The attitude towards law and order can by now only be described as Czarist. Like a biblical plague, a migration movement has hit our country, following the principle: no borders, no state. Only the imminent collapse of Bavaria resulted in something vaguely reminiscent of governmental activity. There had been times when we were actually proud of our constitutional democracy. Looks like we just missed how our political order was replaced by some “welcoming-cultural mood swings”. This will finish us off in terms of internal affairs, and as far as foreign affairs are concerned will make us look like lunatics.
Moscow stands with their politics on a stage of world politics which longs for predictable developments once again. Washington stands for the destruction of the world as we know it and offers “misery for all”. Moscow sends signals of hope which we cannot expect any longer from Washington. We have to adjust to this new antagonism, sensational as it may seem, in order not to be crushed. Internally we have to get back to a democratic state of law and order again and get rid of the regime of personal emergency rulings issued by the still serving chancellor. In foreign affairs we will have to regain respectability by means of international law and readjust our policies. Right now utter chaos reigns in both our internal and foreign state of affairs. Going on like this we are unable to respond to Russian politics. We had been able to do so in the past when our legal culture was still functioning. Unlike ourselves, Moscow has used those years well. •
(Translation Current Concerns)
Power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. And now radical groups are joined by members of the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition backed by the West. They get weapons and training, and then they defect and join the so-called Islamic State.
In fact, the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond. Their plans go further.
The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.
It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them. [...]
Russia has consistently opposed terrorism in all its forms. Today, we provide military-technical assistance to Iraq, Syria and other regional countries fighting terrorist groups. We think it’s a big mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground. [...]
We should finally admit that President Assad’s government forces and the Kurdish militia are the only forces really fighting terrorists in Syria. Yes, we are aware of all the problems and conflicts in the region, but we definitely have to consider the actual situation on the ground. [...]
Relying on international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism. [...]
In the days to come, Russia, as the current President of the UN Security Council, will convene a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the threats in the Middle East. First of all, we propose exploring opportunities for adopting a resolution that would serve to coordinate the efforts of all parties that oppose Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Once again, such coordination should be based upon the principles of the UN Charter. [...]
Dear colleagues, ensuring peace and global and regional stability remains a key task for the international community guided by the United Nations. We believe this means creating an equal and indivisible security environment that would not serve a privileged few, but everyone. Indeed, it is a challenging, complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no alternative. [...]
Russia is confident of the United Nations’ enormous potential, which should help us avoid a new confrontation and embrace a strategy of cooperation. Hand in hand with other nations, we will consistently work to strengthen the UN’s central, coordinating role. I am convinced that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, and provide an enabling environment for the development of all nations and peoples. [...]
*Extract of the speech delivered by Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, at the UN General Assembly on 28 September 2015
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