View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 9 October 2015

Putin in Syria

Russia's president Vladimir Putin has put in his nine-pence worth by bombing Syria, to bolster his buddy Assad. The Americans are predicting reprisal bombings in Russia proper by IS militants; the Russians already have had their less than fair share of terrorism from the Caucasian republics like Chechnya and Dagestan. These bombers also claim Islamic allegiance. Syria is a long-standing ally of Russia (previously: the USSR) in the Middle East. Apart from providing a port for Russian warships on the open Mediterranean, it is also Russia's sole true ally in the region. Not something they'll readily give up. 

If you want a yardstick to measure Putin's policies by, he is a bully. If you show him weakness, or if he perceives a weakness, he will exploit it. Politically, I don't think he cares if he is described as on the left or the right. I have watched a frightening documentary on the rise of extreme nationalism in Russia, not unlike the rise of national-socialism in the Germany of the 1930s. Like in pre-war Germany, Russia's fall from grace in the 1990s is blamed on someone else, being the West of course.

I am not saying that I am that enamoured with "the West's" world policies. The current situation in the Middle East is entirely of the making of the Europeans and the USA, right up to the present day. If I start to write about that, I'll be here until next year.