Why Russia is Obstinate on Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described Russia’s refusal to support a UN resolution on Syria as “despicable.” But, as usual, there’s another perspective. Burned by the West’s transforming the UN resolution that called for protection of Libyan civilian into a mandate for regime change, Russia is worried about a repeat in Syria. And, it doesn’t help garner Russian support when Senator John McCain warns Vladimir Putin that he could meet Gaddafi’s fate, or that Fox News “accidentally” substituted footage of Athens’ streets burning when reporting on Russian protests in Moscow. Both the Western and the Russian perspectives on Syria have value. Taking off our blinders and incorporating both views would help minimize the suffering in Syria, as well as reduce the risk of a Russian-American confrontation – and a nuclear catastrophe. A recent article by Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal provides more details on the Russian perspective and is highly recommended reading.

Martin Hellman

About Nuclear Risk

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects your credit card. But, for almost 30 years, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic.
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