Millennium Post

Can Putin set it right for Syria?

As the G-20 summit in St Petersburg grapples with the Syrian endgame, and as the Obama-led US government once again pushes for warmongering as a solution to the ongoing crisis, the Russian President Vladimir Putin indeed is being presented with a significant choice – whether he’d simply satisfy himself by sounding telegenic bytes for the media to consume or would he assume a proactive role in the wrestling ring that is the battleground Damascus. 

While Russia, China and Iran are categorically against any military strike against the Syrian regime, it is up to the flamboyant and ever charismatic Vladimir Putin to really put his foot down and oppose the US’ move to carry out an armed intervention ostensibly to teach Bashar al-Assad a lesson. It is a fact that Russia under the aegis of Putin both strong and weak, and while it has made strides in economic and defence-related sectors, the country has suffered enormously in terms of human rights abuses and civil liberties under the current president, who’s often deemed an autocrat. However, along with China’s Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin does have the clout to put forward a formidable opposition to the American move to carry out a military strike in Syria under the pretext of the al-Assad regime allegedly having used chemical weapon, the lethal nerve gas Sarin to be exact, against its own people.

The Syrian crisis, however, presents an opportunity for Putin and Xi to substantially increase their bargaining power, both in of symbolic and actual terms, and avert a situation that is bound to become yet another protracted war against the sovereignty of a nation and is certain to replicate the indescribable woes that plagued Iraq since the 2003 US invasion.

Moreover, this is also Russia’s chance to attain a more favourable worldview and step up its relations with the arc of the Middle Eastern nations, particularly, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. In addition, this is also Putin’s chance to rise above his usual foreign policy decisions of cold war-induced instrumentality.
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