G20 Syria divide: World’s largest nations speak out against US-led strike
Published time: September 06, 2013 22:47
Group photographs of the heads of the delegations of the BRICS countries. From left: President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Dilma Vana Rousseff, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Manmohan Singh, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma (RIA Novosti / Igor Russak)
, South Africa
, South America
, South Korea
As leaders of countries making up half of the world’s population firmly opposed military action against Syria without a UN mandate, the US kept pushing for a strike, claiming that many countries represented at the G20 summit were “comfortable” with it.
Although discussion of the Syrian conflict was never officially on the G20 agenda, world leaders used their statements and speeches to outline their stance on a possible US-led military strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the notion that there was a 50/50 split of opinion on the issue, alluding that leaders of the majority of the world’s largest economies clearly stated their opposition to military intervention in Syria.
Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa were among the countries that openly spoke out against military action not authorized by the UN Security Council, Putin revealed.
Putin himself said that he believes the alleged chemical weapons attack was nothing more than “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.”
A point on how quickly public opinion has jelled. There is something going on here, a new distance between Washington and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus. The Syria debate isn’t, really, a struggle between libertarians and neoconservatives, or left and right, or Democrats and Republicans. That’s not its shape. It looks more like a fight between the country and Washington, between the broad American public and Washington’s central governing assumptions.
I’ve been thinking of the “wise men,” the foreign policy mandarins of the 1950s and ’60s, who so often and frustratingly counseled moderation, while a more passionate public, on right and left, was looking for action. “Ban the Bomb!” “Get Castro Out of Cuba.”
In the Syria argument, the moderating influence is the public, which doesn’t seem to have even basic confidence in Washington’s higher wisdom.
That would be a comment on more than Iraq. That would be a comment on the past five years, too.