CANDIDLY SPEAKING: Putin’s Russia now a force in the Middle East
law requires it (which is unclear), but as an alternative check on the use of force. His argument ends with a plea: “Let’s hope the people say yes.” So protecting civilians is an ethical obligation — but one that’s subservient to the greater ethical obligation of respecting the will of Congress. To which the best counter may be, have you seen the current Congress? A more partisan, parochial and cooperation-averse group is hard to imagine. Leaving aside the practical problems with seeking congressional approval, Ignatieff’s demand challenges the meaning of responsibility. A requirement that applies only to actions that are popular anyway isn’t much of a responsibility at all. The very notion of a responsibility suggests an obligation to do something you’d rather not. To be fair, the opposite argument — that Obama, or any president who follows him, should pursue his responsibility to defend civilians without the approval of Congress — isnt all that appetizing either. For most democracies, in fact, you’d be tempted to conclude that a leader’s ethical obligation to serve his own citizens’ wishes generally supersedes his obligation to help people in foreign lands. But the U.S. is exceptional in many ways, not least because it can act when no other country can.
Russia has made it clear it will block any move to write an explicit authorisation for the use of military force into the resolution. Lavrov said that kind of approach would scupper hopes of a resumption of suspended peace negotiations in Geneva. “If for someone it is more important to constantly threaten… that is another path to wrecking completely the chances of calling the Geneva-2 conference,” Lavrov told journalists in Moscow. The US-Russia deal agreed on Saturday gives Assad a week to hand over details of his chemical weapons stockpiles and calls for inspections of what the US says are some 45 sites linked to the programme to be under way by November with an aim to neutralising the country’s chemical capacity by mid-2014. The deal was greeted with dismay by rebel leaders, who fear that the West’s willingness to do business with Assad will consolidate his grip on power and stall the momentum of moves to provide them with the arms they need to tilt the balance of the civil war in their favour. French President Francois Hollande (L) greets US Secretary of State John Kerry on September 16, 2013 at the Elysee palace in Paris. Fabius and Kerry attempted to reassure the rebels that they had not been forgotten with the French minister announcing an international meeting with leaders of the Syrian National Coalition on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week. “We know that in order to negotiate a political solution, there has to be a strong opposition,” Fabius said. France has long championed the opposition coalition but there is concern in other western capitals about the prominent role that hardened Islamist fighters are playing in the fight against Assad’s forces. Kerry also emphasised that Assad’s agreement to the chemical weapons handover did not give him any more right to remain in power. “Nothing in what we’ve done is meant to offer any notion to Assad … that he has some extended period as a leader, so-called,” Kerry said. “We made it clear that Assad has lost all legitimacy… to govern this country.
Russias Micex Index climbed an average 77 percent during the Feds first two courses of so-called quantitative easing. Since the announcement of QE3 on Sept. 13 to yesterdays close, the Micex has slipped less than 0.1 percent, compared with a 2 percent advance in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Ruble Gains The ruble surged to the strongest level in almost three months, buoyed by appetite for emerging-market assets. Russias currency gained 0.6 percent to 32.2775 per dollar yesterday and strengthened 0.5 percent to 37.1164 against the dollar-euro basket used by the central bank to manage swings that erode exporter competitiveness. Ruble futures showed the currency weakening 0.5 percent to 30.51 per dollar in U.S. hours. Sberbank benefits from a stronger ruble because it improves the value of their ruble bond portfolio and makes it easier for the central bank to ease rates, Julian Rimmer, a trader with CF Global Trading UK Ltd. in London , said by e-mail yesterday. The Bloomberg Russia-US gauge rose 1.3 percent yesterday to 96.46, the highest since May 8. Futures on the RTS index expiring in December slipped 0.3 percent to 142,760. The Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) , the largest exchange-traded fund dedicated to Russian equities, gained 1.6 percent to a six-month high of $28.61. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the stock futures, fell 2.2 percent to 21.61.
Russia Celebrates a Triumph for Putin After Clinching Syria Deal
It hurts him when Russia is ignored or belittled, Grazhdankin says. But here Russia has taken a respected position, showing itself to be a serious player on the global arena. This naturally inspires positive emotions. That much was clear from the broadcasts this weekend on state TV. Recalling the G-20 summit of world leaders earlier this month, when Putin and Obama first discussed the idea of bringing Syrias chemical weapons under international control, Kiselyov claimed that Obama had been pulled to Putin like a magnet on the sidelines of the summit. (The New York Times, citing U.S. diplomats, has reported that Putin in fact approached Obama at the summit.) After considering the Russian proposal to destroy Syrias chemical weapons peacefully, It seems Obama found a way to save face, to scare everyone but not take any sin on his soul, the Russian anchor said on Sundays program, which aired on the state-run channel Rossiya 1. Kiselyovs colleagues at the NTV network, another Kremlin-backed channel, also used their chance to cast the U.S. as a bully whom Putin has managed to tame. In modern history there are no examples of anyone convincing the U.S. not to use force, NTV said on its Sunday news program. After Putins mediation, the NTV report added: Even the American hawks have folded up their wings. Both networks continued pushing Russias official line on the issue of blame for the chemical weapons attack that struck near Damascus on August 21. In its program on Sunday, Rossiya 1 claimed that Syrian rebels with links to international terrorist groups staged the attack as a provocation to pull the U.S. and its allies into Syrias civil war.
Russia rattled as allies seek tough UN Syria resolution
The stated deadline is only mid-2014. Already, there are reports that Assad has dispersed and concealed his chemical weapons. With the passage of days, weeks and months, interest in controlling his stockpiles will wane and the possibility of taking action will be effectively forestalled. There will be no consequences to Assads actions, since Russia endorsed and the US capitulated to his demand that an agreement eschew any mention of reverting to military action should he renege on the deal. In orchestrating his maneuvers in Syria, Putin has demonstrated not only his support of Syria and Iran, but his ability to stand up and deliver on behalf of his allies. Putin achieved regional hegemony through Russias alliance with a broad Shiite arc that encompasses Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and is likely to include Iraq. Egypt is currently out of the equation, but in the past it was the most stalwart of Americas regional allies. Today, it distrusts the Obama administration for its abandonment of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and its support of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, making it similarly susceptible to Russian influence. Putins objective is to re-create a bipolar global dynamic in which Russia is the dominant power, demonstrating a determination to confront and undermine America on virtually all issues. While he is condemned in the Western world for his authoritarian rule, brutal suppression of dissidents and failure to root out rampant corruption, despite his countrys economic and military limitations, he has harnessed Russias energy resources to make impressive progress. PUTIN HAS now successfully promoted himself as an international statesman and will undoubtedly continue to exploit nationalism and anti-Americanism in order to raise his standing within his domestic constituency. His rhetoric reflects this new approach. He did not attempt to morally defend Assads actions. Indeed, president Reagan would turn in his grave were he aware of the sanctimonious and cynical paraphrase of his sentiments by Putin in a recent New York Times article, stating, We are all different, but when we ask the Lords blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal…. We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement. These developments inevitably revive memories of the Soviet Unions nefarious role in the Middle East during the Cold War and its collusion with Arab states attempting to destroy the Jewish state.