Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heartless, mindless Russia: Always wrong and late!

THE Russians have finally decided to acknowledge the facts on the ground, and have made it clear that they realize that the Syrian opposition is gaining the upper hand and may topple the government soon. 

On December 13, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Russia is making plans for the possible evacuation of thousands of its nationals from Syria. He said a victory by the rebels would come at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.??Hello, Moscow! Welcome to the world. Now that Russia has finally realized that it is all over for their dictator in Damascus, what are they going to do about it? The Russians seem to always be late. They seem to always be on the wrong side of the people, righteousness and history.

In the last 30 years, they have supported the Marxist and Socialist regimes in Afghanistan, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Southern and Central America, South-East Asia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Southern Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and now in Syria. All these regimes lost their battle against their own people.

When the representatives of the people came to power, they remembered who stood with their oppressors. Russia lost political and economic influence in the world as a result. Today, Russia has lost all its military bases outside the motherland. Their last naval base, in Tartus, Syria, is on its way out.

The problem is: Russians never learn. They keep hanging on to the wrong allies to the last drop. They also have never been good friends and wise consultants. Instead of counseling against the use of force, they have actually supported it. They have encouraged and often assisted in the oppression of public protest and democratic voices.

It is never too late to do the right thing. Without expecting much in return, Russia must recognize that it has lost in Syria and acknowledge that it bet on the wrong horse. The first thing it should do is courageously announce that it was wrong. Then it must apologize and make it up to the Syrian people. 

A lot needs to be done, but at the top of the list is the need to withdraw its political cover, stop its military support and try to convince the Bashar Al-Assad regime to give up its useless and deadly fight. It could provide him and his family, as well as a selective number of officials and commanders, a way out. 

Russia should work with concerned regional and international powers to find a smooth, peaceful and workable regime transition that provides security for all and protects minorities, especially the Alawites, from majority revenge. The more united and coherent the approach toward the crisis, the better the chance to work out a rosier end to the tragedy and a brighter dawn of the future. 

Russia should change its nationalistic political mindset. We are no longer living in the age of the Cold War that justified heartless and ethic-less policies. In the satellite TV and social media age, the public is well-informed and involved in world affairs.

Ordinary people, often more than elites, are making and breaking, doing and undoing governments and strategies.  It is about time that message reaches the high-walled Kremlin. 

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