World View: President Obama Blasts Russia and Iran over Syria

World View: President Obama Blasts Russia and Iran over Syria

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Greenpeace tangles with the wrong country — Russia
  • President Obama blasts Russia and Iran over Syria
  • Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani ‘snubs’ Obama at United Nations

Greenpeace tangles with the wrong country — Russia

A boat full of Greenpeace activists being sprayed by a water cannon
A boat full of Greenpeace activists being sprayed by a water cannon

Greenpeace has a history of bizarre, high publicity activist protests,everything from disrupting Iceland’s whaling fleet to scalingskyscrapers, earning themselves the names “eco-terrorists.” Aftereach event, they painted themselves as innocent victims, and theyalways got away with it. But now they may have gone too far. Lastweek, activists tried to scale a Gazprom offshore oil platform in theArctic Ocean, hoping that the big publicity stunt would embarrass theRussians. But nothing embarrasses the Russians. Russian authoritiesboarded the Greenpeace boat, arrested all the activists on board, andtowed the boat to Murmansk port, where the activists are beingquestioned and charged with piracy. Ria Novosti

President Obama blasts Russia and Iran over Syria

During Tuesday’s speech by President Barack Obama, he wasuncharacteristically critical of Russia’s and Iran’s policies withrespect to Syria, calling that policy a “fantasy”: 

“Assad’s traditional allies have propped him up,citing principles of sovereignty to shield his regime. And onAugust 21st, the regime used chemical weapons in an attack thatkilled more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children. … 

The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used suchweapons on August 21st. U.N. inspectors gave a clear accountingthat advanced rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas atcivilians. These rockets were fired from a regime-controlledneighborhood, and landed in opposition neighborhoods. It’s aninsult to human reason — and to the legitimacy of thisinstitution — to suggest that anyone other than the regimecarried out this attack. … 

Now there must be a strong Security Council resolution to verifythat the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, and there mustbe consequences if they fail to do so. If we cannot agree even onthis, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable ofenforcing the most basic of international laws. On the otherhand, if we succeed, it will send a powerful message that the useof chemical weapons has no place in the 21st century, and thatthis body means what it says. …

Nor do I believe that America or any nation should determine whowill lead Syria; that is for the Syrian people to decide.Nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassedchildren to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badlyfractured country. The notion that Syria can somehow return to apre-war status quo is a fantasy.

It’s time for Russia and Iran to realize that insisting on Assad’srule will lead directly to the outcome that they fear: anincreasingly violent space for extremists tooperate.”

President Obama’s substantive criticisms echo what I wrote last weekin “18-Sep-13 World View — Russia and Vladimir Putin pursue a disastrous Syria policy”:Supporting the genocidal monster who leads Syria not only harms theUnited Nations but leads to increasing violence in the region. 

President Obama also echoed again, as he’s done more thanonce recently, the Truman Doctrine: 

“But I also believe the world is better for it. Somemay disagree, but I believe America is exceptional — in partbecause we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of bloodand treasure to stand up not only for our own narrowself-interests, but for the interests of all.”

The Truman Doctrine was putforth by President Harry Truman in 1947, making the U.S. thePoliceman of the World. Truman’s reasoning was that WW II was soexpensive and cost so many lives that intervening in theGreece/Turkey crisis of the time would be only a tiny fraction andwould be well worth it if it prevented a new world war. PresidentJohn F. Kennedy repeated this theme in his inaugural address.White House

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani ‘snubs’ Obama at United Nations

According to news reports, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhanideclined to meet with President Obama on Tuesday at theUnited States, giving as a reason that it was “too complicated.”A number of reporters are saying that Rouhani “snubbed” Obama,but in fact the “too complicated” description is quitebelievable. 

As I wrote last week in “21-Sep-13 World View — Does Iran’s ‘Heroic Flexibility’ signal a real policy change?”, the reference by the Supreme LeaderAyatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to “Heroic Flexibility” is a signal thatKhamenei is finally being forced to give in to the demands of theyoung generation that grew up after the Great Islamic Revolution andthe Iran/Iraq war. 

However, this “gender gap” is just as controversial in Iran todayas it was during America’s Awakening era in the 1960s. In fact,Khamenei’s declaration of “Heroic Flexibility” has becomeextremely controversial in the last few days, drawing agreat deal of criticism from younger members of theIslamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) who are determinedfor Iran to develop nuclear weapons, despite externalpressures and sanctions. So a meeting between Rouhaniand Obama may well have been “too complicated” for Iran’spolitics. 

In his United Nations speech, Rouhani said that Iran has no intentionof developing nuclear weapons, a claim that few believe. He also wentoff the deep end in terms of fatuous nonsense by proposing a UnitedNations project called “The world against violence and extremism,”which is laughable in view of Iran’s continuing policies of violenceand extremism. 

At any rate, Rouhani’s speech sounded nice, but had no contentwhatsoever. It remains to be seen whether Iran’s new “HeroicFlexibility” policy means anything. Al Monitor and Sky News

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greenpeace, Russia, Gazprom,Barack Obama, Russia, Iran, Syria,Hassan Rouhani, Heroic Flexibility,Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei 

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