"Putin is right!" – on the Syrian issue
By Jacques Nikonoff, translated by Siv O'Neall
Sunday, Oct 11, 2015
Associate Professor at the Institute of European Studies at the University of Paris 8, Jacques Nikonoff comments on the most salient points taken by the General Assembly of the UN.
After ten years of absence, the presence of Vladimir Putin at the 70th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and his September 28 speech, marks the comeback of Russia on the world diplomatic stage. The Russian president appeared both as the leader of a sort of new camp of non-aligned nations and as a defender of international legality and of the UN.
"Vladimir Putin's speech acts as
the end of the uni-polar world dominated by the United States
ever since the dissolution of the USSR."
It is too early to say whether this UN session will go down in history in the same way as the Bandung Conference (Indonesia) in April 1955. For the first time it brought together representatives of twenty-nine African and Asian countries which will become a political force, demanding the freedom of the Third World to choose their destiny between the two power blocks at this time. Some of that issue gets into the speech of Vladimir Putin, who acts as if this is the end of the unipolar world which has been dominated by the United States ever since the dissolution of the USSR. What we are now seeing is the passage of this unipolar world under Western domination to a multipolar world including the BRICS and Iran. These are two visions of the world that are in reality opposed. On the Western side is the defense of an artificial and arrogant universalism, reduced to capitalism and to neoliberal [so-called] democracy; on the side of emerging powers is the defense of sovereign nations and their political and economic choices – capitalism, for example, is not a universal value but a typically Western political choice. Vladimir Putin was supported by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping who confirmed the need for a "new charter of the United Nations" to build "equal-to-equal partnerships" and to respect [national]"sovereignty". This is indeed a new world order that remains to be built to replace the one established by the United Nations after the Second World War. The Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani went in the same direction. We regret the silence of Brazil, South Africa and India, which, weakened by internal tensions due to the neoliberal policies of these countries, are thus reducing their international aura.
Putting the West on the defensive, Putin defended the respect of international legality and the role of the UN. He tore apart the [phony] lessons on democracy and human rights constantly professed by the West. It is the the West that is responsible for a very sharp decline in international law principles. Mainly at the instigation of the U.S, which put all the means at their disposal, international law is exploited for all causes that would harm the U.S. interests. It is even the victim of an attempted annulment of all sectors that would minimize the freedom of maneuver of the United States. Thus "non-interference" in the internal affairs of [sovereign] states and peoples, which is a central provision of the UN Charter, becomes its opposite with an interference called "humanitarian" and the "duty to protect" peoples against their own state. The United States has never accepted the legal constraints resulting from multilateral agreements. But we must return to multilateralism in order to respond to the international reality of today.
Will the settlement of the Syrian issue be the birth of a new global political architecture? It is, in any case, the intention of of the Russian President’s proposals. He recalls the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, trampled by the West: the "non-interference in the internal affairs of a country." His proposal to "coordinate all steps against the Islamic state" by a "truly global coalition against terrorism, similar to the anti-Hitler coalition," "including the Arab countries," and "according to the rules of the UN Charter " is the only one that can enable a move towards a resolution of the conflict. Putin is still right when he says that there is "no other solution to the Syrian crisis other than strengthening their government structures and giving them support in their fight against terrorism. "We must indeed think of the people and ensure the operation of hospitals, schools, and the distribution of water and electricity. He notes that "instead of sovereign and stable states, we see the growing spread of chaos".
ISIS fanatics and other criminal groups threaten world peace. The main objective should be their destruction. ISIS is the main enemy of Syria, not Assad, even if he is a criminal dictator. At stake is not the survival of the Syrian government but that of Syria itself. Wanting to destroy the Syrian government, which is the target of the Western coalition, would cause the same chaos already observed in countries like Iraq or Libya. This must be admitted because fanatical crime groups control 60% of Syria, and only the Syrian army is fighting against the Kurdish PKK and YPG defense units.
The international coalition which has been led by the United States for over a year, has been bombing Syrian territory in a targeted manner. It has no UN mandate and nor does it have the agreement of the Syrian regime, [which it ought to have] no matter what your opinion is of that regime. Their efforts have yielded no results, the fanatic criminal groups continue to extend their hold on territory. Therefore It is necessary to take the next step. To this end, there is no alternative other than bringing together a new coalition and coordinate its armed forces with the armed forces of the Syrian government. The purpose is not to support the criminal dictator Bashar Assad or on the contrary to set as a condition his prior departure. It is for the Syrians to resolve that issue. The purpose is to concentrate all forces to eliminate fundamentalist jihadism. Such an agreement would be of the same nature as what took place during the Second World War between the USSR and the United States against Germany and Japan. The USSR and the United States disagreed on everything except the superior need to destroy Nazism.
Original text in French is here
Jacques Nikonoff is associate professor at the Institute of European Studies of the University Paris 8. He is also spokesman for the emancipation of the people Party (former M'PEP).
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