PUSH THAT RESET BUTTON – YEAH, MAN – AT 9:34 A.M. ET: One of the great farcical claims of the Obama administration is that it pushed a "reset" button with Moscow when it took office. Presumably, this button was attached to a printed circuit that brought peace on earth and throughout the known universe.
Apparently, a fuse blew. The button was pushed...and nothing happened. Well, actually, if you examine the meters carefully, something did happen. We lost. But don't tell that to the mainstream media.
Yesterday, President Obama said that, if Syria used chemical weapons in its current civil war, that would be a "red line" for the United States. Today the response came from the Russians, clearly quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing the John Wayne of the new order, Barack Obama. From AP:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the West on Tuesday against any unilateral action on Syria after President Barack Obama said U.S. forces could act if the Syrian leader deployed chemical weapons against rebels trying to topple him.
Russia and China have opposed military intervention in Syria throughout 17 months of bloodshed and have vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions backed by Western and Arab states that would have raised pressure on Damascus to end violence.
Lavrov spoke at a meeting with China's top diplomat one day after Obama, in some of his strongest language yet, said U.S. forces could move against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he resorted to chemical weapons against insurgents.
Russia and China base their diplomatic cooperation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the U.N. Charter, and not to allow their violation", Lavrov said at a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.
"I think this is the only correct path in today's conditions," Lavrov told Dai, who also met President Vladimir Putin and his top security adviser, Nikolai Patrushev, on Monday for consultations went unannounced by the Kremlin.
Lavrov's remarks underscored Moscow's wish to keep international efforts to end Syria's crisis within the United Nations, where Russia and China wield clout as two of the five permanent Security Council members with veto power.
Frustrated by the vetoes and by the refusal of Russia and China to join calls for Assad to leave power, the United States and other Western and Arab countries are seeking other ways to exert influence on the situation in Syria.
COMMENT: Syria is thus far a colossal failure for the United States. We seem to have no leverage, and no one appears to take Obama's comments and threats seriously. The horrible violence continues, with a death toll approaching 20,000. (Note the deep interest of Western "human rights" groups.) Russia is obviously not moved by any of our concerns. So much for the reset.
But others are also noticing. All over the world our allies watch in growing dismay as the United States, their prime protector, fails to exercise leadership, and fails to win any new respect.
There are better reset buttons available. But acquisition of the new equipment requires electoral change in November.
August 21, 2012