Amid Mideast Turmoil, What Does Russia Want?

Amid Mideast Turmoil, What Does Russia Want? YaleGlobal. Thomas Graham. August 20, 2013.

Russia has reasons to resist military intervention in Syria. “Moscow has been resolute in the defense of the principle of state sovereignty in the traditional Westphalian sense, of non-interference by outside powers in the internal affairs of another state, a principle it considers to be the foundation of world order and international law,” explains Thomas Graham. Arms sales, a Middle East alliance, Cold War rivalries are minor factors. Russia insists that the UN Security Council, not individual nations, should intervene in protecting civilians from atrocities. Russians suspect that the United States uses “responsibility to protect” to advance its own geopolitical goals and regard democracy-building as futile, even treacherous in areas where Islamists may take control. Syria’s destiny may be beyond the control of major powers. With Moscow supporting an international conference on political transition for Syria, Graham urges the U.S. to develop its own counterarguments and policies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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