This is one in a series of foreign policy analysis essays on the current global situation. All material copyright February 2012 by Jace Foster Ink and is written by Jace Foster.
In a calculated, timed move the world has seemingly split into two parts over the past 48 hours, with countries running headfirst into a war that has been building over the last several months.
Russia and China announced February 6, 2012, that they would not be backing sanctions against Syria by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The next day Russia sent their foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to Damascus for talks with Syria’s President al-Assad. Lavrov said, “Syria’s Assad will soon announce [a] date for [a] referendum on [a] new Syrian constitution,” according to Reuters.
Philip J. Crowley, the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership, said, “Lavrov will create the appearance of an ongoing process so the proverbial dead cat (and dead Syrians) are not laid at Russia’s feet.”
Meanwhile shelling continued in Homs, with dozens lying dead in the streets as the assault by Assad’s troops intensified.
Russia and China are but two in a union that includes aforementioned Syria, Pakistan — once an ally of the United States — Iran and Venezuela. China began to make inroads into Africa in search of allies on Sunday, February 5, then on Monday offered to help the European Union countries facing economic crises.
As noted in a previous blog, Cuba is still in play, having received regular visits from Venezuelan President Chavez as well as visits from both Pakistan and Iran.
Iran continues to provoke the U.S. — and Israel — with threats of sending nuclear missiles into Israel. Iran has fired two “dummy” warhead missles and continues to practice war games in the Strait of Hormuz. Last September the U.S. Navy confirmed (in an off-the-record interview that has since been released) that Iran sent a partial fleet — including a nuclear submarine — to the Atlantic Ocean, 50 nautical miles from U.S. territorial waters off the coast of Virginia. The U.S. Naval Fleet docked at the Virginian Coast, “was placed on heightened alert,” according to a USN source who did not wish to be identified. This source confirmed that two U.S. submarines were surreptitiously sent to discover by sonar the specific type of submarine the Iranians were using for what Iran termed “deep-water war games.” The U.S. subs determined Iran was indeed using a nuclear attack sub, according to the USN source.
The timing of these alliances and maneuvers is calculated: the U.S. is viewed as weak because of the upcoming presidential election, as other countries assume President Obama is thinking of nothing other than being re-elected.
Additionally, the aforementioned economic crises that crippled Greece, Turkey and Germany throughout 2011 continue and have spread to other European Union countries. Any military support would be minimal at best.
The Arab Union also is trying to distance itself from “the Syrian problem,” as a spokesman for Jordan said. Having seen the effects of the “Arab Spring” revolutions of 2011, Arab nations are trying to keep peace within their own borders, let alone those they share with other countries. Turkey, for example, has seen a huge influx of Syrian refugees and has requested humanitarian aid from the United Nations.
Israel, flusterered not only by looming war with Iran, continues to try to make peace with Palestine. Those talks, however, have to date been fruitless.
Although the adage is “time will tell,” in this instance time is moving at a fast clip and in two hemispheres, thus spreading U.S. interests wide. What time will tell is how able the U.S. can respond.