Syria #2: To The Brink Of War And Back

A lot has happened since my previous post. Obama got what he wanted: no military intervention in Syria. Instead, Putin reached out to Obama and together they’ve come up with a political solution: Assad should destroy all chemical weapons by mid- 2014 and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be doing inspections. A soft UN resolution was passed on Friday the 27th of September. Soft, because military intervention is completely out of the picture now. In the case Assad does not get rid of his chemical weapons, a new resolution mandating military intervention still has to pass the security council – which, of course, wouldn’t happen. Ever.

What Rasmussen is really saying

I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin’s threats against this sovereign nation. Sovereignty is the most important principle of the UN. The only principle all UN members agreed on, really. They also agreed that if a country violates this holy principle military intervention is desirable. This sentence already warns Putin not to cross the line.

What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. A clarification of the above. The UN is the ultimate authority, the one and only (limited) authority when it comes to global peace and conflict. Also note the irony. Putin loves to refer to the UN and more specifically the principle of sovereignty. Think of Syria. Russia also enjoys being in the “driver seat” of the UN a.k.a. the Security Council. So the focus on the UN is clearly a smart way to deal with this. Getting them at their own game.