Monday, September 28, 2015

At UN, Obama And Putin Clash

At U.N., Obama and Putin clash over working with Syria's Assad

The United States said on Monday it was willing to cooperate with Russia, as well as Iran, to try to end the Syrian civil war, but the two big powers clashed over whether to work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking at the annual United Nations General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama described Assad as a tyrant and as the chief culprit behind the four-year civil war in which at least 200,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in contrast, told the gathering of world leaders that there was no alternative to cooperating with Assad's military in an effort to defeat the Islamic State militant group, which has seized parts of Syria  and neighboring Iraq.
Putin called for the creation of a broader international antiterrorist coalition with majority-Muslim countries as members, an appeal that may compete with the group that the United States has assembled to fight Islamic State.
"The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict," Obama, who spoke before Putin, told the General Assembly. "But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo."
The disagreement over Assad raised questions about how Obama and Putin might find common ground during their meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly. The two leaders began meeting shortly after 5 p.m.
Putin walked in first with Obama close behind. Stopping in front of U.S. and Russian flags set up for a photo opportunity, Obama put out his hand and Putin took it for a handshake. With tight-lipped smiles, they did not speak to each other or answer shouted questions from journalists. 
Later, at a lunch hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the two men shook hands and clinked glasses. As they did so, Putin smiled but Obama, with a piercing look, did not.
Obama did not explicitly call for Assad's ouster and he suggested there could be a "managed transition" away from his rule, the latest sign that despite U.S. animus toward the Syrian leader it was willing to see him stay for some period of time.
Putin differed, suggesting there was no option but to work with Assad against Islamic State fighters.
"We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face," Putin said during his speech before the U.N. General Assembly.

[At the risk of stating the obvious, most of this was directed towards the U.S.]

The export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions has continued, but has unleashed poverty and violence instead of the triumph of democracy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing the UN General Assembly.
Attempts to push for changes in other countries based on ideological preferences have led to “tragic consequences and degradation rather than progress,” said Putin in his speech to world leaders and policy makers gathered at the UN General Assembly’s anniversary 70th session in New York on Monday.
“We should all remember what our past has taught us,” Putin said. “We, for instance, remember examples from the history of the Soviet Union.”
It seems however that some are not learning from others’ mistakes, but keep repeating them, he said, adding that “the export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions continues.”
“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done?” he asked. “But I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”
He cited the example of revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where people have wished for change. However, instead of reforms and the triumph of democracy and progress “we’ve got violence, poverty and social disaster, and human rights, including the right to life, to which no weight is given.”
“Rather than bringing about reforms, aggressive foreign interference has resulted in the brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself,” he said.
A single center of domination emerged in the world after the Cold War era ended, Putin stated. Those who were at the “top of this pyramid” were tempted to think that “if they were so strong and exceptional, they knew what to do better than others."
“Therefore they do not have to reckon with the UN, which instead of automatically authorizing, legitimizing the necessary decisions often creates obstacles or in other words ‘stands in the way’.”
Power vacuums in the Middle East or regions of North Africa have led to the emergence of lawless areas which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists, Putin said.
Islamic State militants (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), who gained a foothold in Iraq and Syria, are now seeking to dominate the whole of the Islamic world, he said.
“[Islamic State] ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown onto the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya – a country whose statehood has been destroyed as a result of gross violations of UNSC resolution 1973.”
Some of the extremists have defected from the ‘moderate’ opposition in Syria, which has been supported by some Western states, he stressed.
“First, they are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State. Besides, the Islamic State did not just come from nowhere. It was also initially forged as a tool against undesirable secular regimes,” he explained.
He described it as “hypocritical and irresponsible” to turn a blind eye to the channels through which terrorists are financed while making declarations about their threat to the whole world.
“We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone arm them, is not only short-sighted, but ‘fire hazardous.’ This may result in a global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions of the world,” he said.
If a comprehensive strategy of political and economic stabilization of crisis-struck countries is developed, then there will be a hope of tackling the problem of the refugee crisis, Putin stated.
“The flow of people who were forced to leave their homeland has literally flooded the neighboring countries and then Europe,” he said calling it a “new painful migration of peoples.”
He stressed that the fundamental solution to the refugee crisis is rooted in restoring statehood where it has been destroyed, strengthening government institutions where they are weak and providing comprehensive assistance to the peoples’ countries of origin.

[This brief video is definitely worth watching]

How much do we know about Russian President Vladimir Putin? How much do we know about the behind-the-scenes strategyregarding the actions taken by Russia?

The answer is simple, Americans know what Washington, via the MSM, tells us..... period. 

A UK journalist,  John Simpson from the BBC, recently had the opportunity to ask Putin questions regarding his intentions of getting along with the U.S. and Putin's response has been described as "politely schooling"  Mr. Simpson on the recent history of Russia-US bilateral relations and US military expansionism the process.

After listening to Putin's 5 minute answer, readers/viewers may very well continue to see things the way they did before listening, and they may not............ but that decision, that judgment, will come after hearing both sides of the story, rather than basing their opinions on only what the MSM is telling us.

We could go over the points Putin makes below, item by item, but this is one of those instances where watching the body language, taking notes so each point can be looked up, verified or debunked, is the only to really make an "informed" decision after hearing both sides.

I have heard it said that there is always two sides of an argument and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. We now have both sides.

At one point during his answer, Putin asks "Does anyone even listen to us?" 

We're Listening.

Note - Putin is speaking Russia, subtitles are in English.

No comments: