Here is the text from the Mendeleyev Journal remarks today in the World Affairs Journal:
Thanks to Obama and Kerry, Russians have seen their country restored to the national stage and the internal opposition against the rule of Vladimir Putin has been dealt a serious blow. As an American journalist from Moscow, I’ve watched Mr. Putin operate for years and the component that most Americans seem blinded to is that for all his faults Mr. Putin has shown concern for the minority Christian populations, mostly consisting of Orthodox, than any other world leaders. He just hasn’t prattled on about it or made it a campaign plank but Russia has quietly been accepting refugees from Egypt and Syria for some time now.
What we see that most Americans don’t is a man who attends church most Sundays, and in fact Mr. Putin has attended more church services this year than Mr. Obama has in two terms in office. While the USA is desperately attempting to rid any semblance of a Christian heritage, Mr. Putin has a chapel near the presidential residence that he frequents when important decisions are looming. It is normal for Mr. Putin to consult on a regular basic with regional Orthodox leaders in the region, Syrian Christian leadership included.
We can all blather on about Russia selling weapons and befriending dictators, however the USA remains the single largest exporter of weapons on the planet and our list of dictators is longer than Russia’s so on those issues we really have no moral authority to cast stones from our American glass house.
To Assad’s credit, he included minority Christians in his government in the way of cabinet ministers who had real authority in their areas of oversight. Contrast that to an American president who has met fewer times with his own cabinet than any other president in modern American history. At the same time it was Assad who held together a peace in Syria between the Muslim majority and who protected the Christian minority much like the practice in Egypt right up until Obama’s dishonest Muslim Brotherhood friend Morsi.
Make no mistake, Assad is a harsh dictator but in this region of the world stability with a dictator is better than the instability a country run by proxy from another country and controlled by radicals who are intent upon blowing up the world and especially Israel and her sponsor the USA. The senile ranting of the elderly John McCain and his banal claim to know the rebels and claim that they are his friends aside, I’ve been to Syria this year more times than John McCain and know that his rebel pals are really not interested in being his friend beyond whether or not he can help drag the USA into the war into serving as the air force for the Islamic rebels.
What most Americans are not exceptional enough to understand is the proximity of Syria to Russia’s restive Muslim republics. Chechnya or Dagestan, anyone? There would be a serious world realignment were Assad to lose to the rebels, which are not united in anything except their hatred for Israel, hatred of the USA, and a belief that they must conquer Christian Russia, the single largest country on the planet covering a sixth of the earth’s surface, for the glory of Allah.
It is blind madness to think that Mr. Putin’s only concern is over losing a client state in the Middle East, yet most in the USA, politicians and journalists alike, seem to be drinking this kool-aid.
We’ve seen many in the USA write about supposed Russian threats were the USA to strike Syria. Yet in truth, and truth seems in short supply at even American conservative media, Russia has made it clear, whether at the G20 or other means, that Russia has no intent of going to war to defend Syria, nor to engage the USA. President Putin is a lot smarter than most American leaders and isn’t about to engage in a conflict he can’t win.
What is also sad is that an incompetent president in Washington along with his clownish and obtusely overly talkative sidekick Secretary of State have propped up two presidents who may not be so deserving: Assad and Putin.
Assad will go, the matter is when and that should be managed by the West with Russia included, or Iran will end up controlling yet another puppet state creating serious instability, both in Israel and Russia in the near term future. Russia and the USA have more shared interests in this matter than most American leaders seem to have the mental capacity to understand.
At home in Russia, the opposition was making a transition from simple angry street protests to fielding candidates for office and maturing into a growing and legitimate force against Putin’s curtailments of democracy. Just as the Syria fiasco has taken attention away from the IRS, Benghazi and NSA scandals, the Syria negotiations have legitimized Mr. Putin anew and set his peaceful opposition back on its heels. Thanks, Mr. Obama, for nothing, absolutely nothing.
On average Russians are generally a good and generous people, and now grateful that Russia is again on the world stage which in the long term helps secure her internal stability from terror within. Russia is more accustomed to internal terror attacks, especially in the Caucasus region, than the average American and a respite would be welcome to Russian citizens.
Despite our temporary difficulties, Russia and the USA have a longer history of friendship but because of the Soviet years and a failed American educational system, most Americans living today don’t understand this shared history. It was Russia who defied England and threatened war if Russian ships were blockaded during the American revolution. Russian ships passed to supply the Colonies while other countries were warned away.
Fast forward to the US civil war: Russia had just a few years earlier eliminated serfdom and those were Russian ships sailing into New York and San Francisco to help supply the Union Army.
In the land rush westward, it was Russia’s control over parts of what is now Northern California that thwarted English claims to that territory and it was Russia who made sure the territory was in American hands, not that of the English. Today in America the very mention of Russia usually brings out only the best of American ignorance of our shared past and potential for the future. That is shameful.
It is often said that there are two sides to every story and Syria is a situation with many sides, none pretty, and none justifying American intervention. For every word written about civilian causalities, we’ll politely ask about what happened to the outrage on behalf of Christians in southern Sudan at the hands of Muslim northern Sudan where for years the government has indicated that it will achieve a 100% Islamic state by genocide if necessary. So, who’s up for bombing north Sudan?
The fact is that Syria is in the middle of an epic struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Neither is democratic, both are strict Muslim dictatorships, and both harbour terrorists. So, America again has chosen one dictator over another in a classic case of pointing at the speck in the other brother’s eye (Russia) while blinded to the log jammed up our own eyeballs.