Trump's actions pose real dangers
After bombing Syria on the pretext of avenging a chemical attack on the civilian population in rebel-held Idlib province, United States President Donald Trump has also severed his personal relations with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Before making this decision, Trump did not wait to weigh the pros and cons of this arbitrary decision. Having a good relationship with Russia would have undoubtedly helped Trump in a better way. He would have been credited with retrieving some of America's lost glory in the wake of Russia taking the initiative in the war against the Islamic State in Syria.
The US-Russia friendship has been dealt a severe blow by the so called friends' of America. These are the persons whom Trump has kept away. But unfortunately, they have been now dictating the course of action. This does not reflect well on Trump.
The proactive stance of the British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson on punishing Russia by tightening sanctions and the alacrity with which he roped in support of his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault to urge the international community to "go further" in punishing those responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 4, is part of this design.
Johnson has his reasons. His argument manifests the British hatred towards Putin. A majority of Britons sharing the European Union's vision on Brexit nurse the view that Britain had came out of the EU only due to the manipulation and rigging of the referendum by Russia. He is aware that the American-led sanctions have failed to crack Russia. Even then he was persuading the G7 to tighten sanctions further.
Significantly the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn accused Johnson of displaying a "Cold War mentality'. He warned that backing American missile strike was "utterly disastrous". According to him Johnson nurses a wrong perception and his belief that last week's retaliatory action by the US could open the door for a fresh diplomatic effort to remove Assad from power is not correct.
The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, called him a liability for Britain and said he "undermines our credibility". But British Prime Minister Theresa May defended him on Thursday, saying he had done an "excellent job in bringing together the G7" and delivering a unanimous message of condemnation to Russia. In the prevailing situation, he intends to raise the issue of sanctions at future meetings of European foreign ministers. It apparently implied that both the countries want to deepen the crisis further and turn it a global problem.
It is in this backdrop Jeremy Corbyn suggested that Donald Trump should "rapidly engage" with Vladimir Putin to restart the Syria peace process. The Labour leader called for more pressure to be put on Russia to ensure a peaceful settlement in Syria. "Putin and Trump should get together. They are the superpowers of the world. Vladimir Putin can be forced into all sorts of directions if sufficient political and other pressure is put on him," he said.
Recent moves by the Americans and the EU raise serious apprehensions about their real intentions. Surprisingly both these leaders want that the charge of engaging in chemical warfare should be investigated, not by the UN, but by the independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Intriguingly they are not pressing for UN probe.
It is evident that any investigation other than by UN would be open to manipulation. The USA has the expertise in such manoeuvrings. The world has not forgotten how George Bush used a similar motive to attack Iraq. He real intention was to get rid Saddam Hussein and usurp the country's oil. But he used the Weapons of Mass Destruction bogey as an alibi to attack Iraq. The same line is being applied in Syria. In Iraq, Saddam Hussain was the direct target. But in Syria, Putin is the meandering object. It is an irony that George Bush's policies were primarily responsible for the creation of ISIS in Iraq. Barack Obama's policies, meanwhile, gave birth to the transnational terror group in Syria.
Trump, who had fought the presidential campaign pledging to stay out of Middle East conflicts, is now acting as the volatile region's conscience keeper. This shift clearly manifests that he has fallen into the trap. Trump who just over a month ago wanted to bar entry of all Syrian refugees into the US, now wants the world to believe that he cares about Syrian children.
After the USA lost the Syrian battle and Russia was bestowed with the credit of finishing the hegemony of America, the western countries, NATO, the EU countries have been feeling restless, and their one-point agenda was to throw Putin out of power; but could not succeed. The allegation of Assad using chemical weapons has come to their rescue. They do not intend to miss it. These forces are scared of Putin consolidating his grip on Russia.
Putin has restored Russia's status of a great power, lost with the Soviet Union. He steered Russia away from the Western orbit, rebuilt the country's military force and protect Russian security interests to send the message to the world that Russia was back in play. He stood up to US global dominance. Seen as disruptive in the West, Putin has struck a firm tone at home.
Putin once described himself as Russia's top nationalist. He has also proclaimed patriotism to be Russia's national idea. Putin is above all a symbol of stability after a decade and a half of turmoil that included the misguided and botched reform of the Soviet communist system. Putin has shaped a country to echo his values and grievances. And now he's working to secure his legacy.
Though Russia isn't a Communist country anymore, the western capitalist block still looks at it as a communist fellow traveller. They have been scared of the image of Putin. This is why Johnson alleged that Putin was "toxifying the image of Russia" by backing Bashar al-Assad. His showing concern for the Russian people is quite intriguing and at the same time hilarious. Amusing for the reason that Johnson was using the old rotten mechanism to alienate Putin from his people. He ought to have realised that average Russian had endorsed and supported Putin's actions to preserve the nationalism.
President Trump has taken his unilateralism in foreign policy to a dangerous level. He is talking only about ensuring the security of the American citizens as if the safety of the people of other countries has no relevance to him. The world is having a war like situation and any day, and the US can send missiles or resort to air attacks. Many human rights organisations have questioned Trump claim that the Assad government was responsible for the recent chemical attacks. There has to be a third party investigation into this incident. The international situation is very grave. There is a need for telling Trump that he does not have the sole right of deciding who is guilty or who is not.