Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Still more than a slight chill

For those who celebrated the end of the so-called Cold War, that continuing chill and uncertainty is more than a memory. In my opinion, the Cold War was never cold, and it didn’t end when revelers dismantled the Berlin Wall. The struggle continues, I’m afraid.

Consider the turmoil in Syria. Turmoil is too soft a word for what’s happening. Recently, I listened as some Western leaders chastised Russia and China for not voting yes on a Security Council resolution censuring Syria’s Assad regime. Tartus, Syria is a good place, geographically to begin to understand why Russia has cold feet about all this diplomatic condemnation.

The Russian navy has a new base in Tartus, on the Mediterranean Sea. Well, they’ve based out of there for quite some time, but the Syrians have upgraded it over the past few years. Russia has bailed out Syria financially and forgiven a substantial amount (80%) of Syrian debt. Theirs is a deep long relationship; back to that Cold War you thought was over.

For many reasons, but principally Syria’s friend Russia, the US cannot deploy fast attack bombers, drones, and secret ground troops to Syria. In this crisis we’ll be rather limp bystanders. Of course our ability to stand by closely ceased to be an option when we closed our embassy over the weekend. It’s up to Russia to massage this upheaval. But I doubt they have the skills, the will, and the care to do so.

The Cold War still is…

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