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The Knight in Shining Armour : Vladmir Putin

 I read just a few days ago, Russian President Vladmir Putin's op-ed piece in a leading American newspaper on Syria. I hope most of you have, but if you haven't, it's high time you do - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0. It's most well worded and effective, I'm positive it won over a large section of the American populace to him. But what actually clicked in his article is the blunt criticism of the American Foreign Policy of big-brotherliness and a frank opinion on where it was leading them to.

Man in Focus : Russian President Vladmir Putin
The USA's foreign policy on Syria has been much criticized. After having just sat over it, waiting for things to work themselves out and looking like a lame-duck, the USA suddenly woke up to the issue, posturing strongly against the Assad Government. Had it not been for Vladmir Putin, Syria's knight in shining armor, well they probably would have gone ahead with their disastrous idea of an intervention. So here's a look at his role in defusing the Syrian Intervention crisis.

Syria has always been one of Russia's closest allies, one of it's closes friends on the international front. Throughout the civil war and even before rather, Russia supplied the Assad Government with all types of weapons to strengthen the Syrian Army. Bashar al-Assad and his family, which have ruled Syria for a few decades now belong to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of the Shia branch of Islam. Thus, Syria has had a close friendship with Iran too, for the latter is dominated by Shias. This explains why it was always the Western World ganged up against Syria, Iran and Russia with China being supportive, albeit in a less open manner, of the Assad regime.

As I have mentioned, until a few months ago, there was not much international attention for Syria. Russia and Putin were obviously most happy with this situation for it allowed them to continue supporting the Assad regime without the USA hampering their progress. After the war crossed the 'red-lines', the USA stirred from it's hibernation and began mobilizing international support for an intervention against the Assad regime. Russia, obviously bracing itself for such an eventuality which I'm confident they had foreseen, became the biggest obstruction with Putin himself at the forefront, leading any international support for the Assad regime.


Reaching Out To The American Public : Putin's Masterstroke

Full credit must be attributed to Putin though, for complying to 'international law' throughout this crisis (different matter altogether that this adherence to international law is only when it suits their foreign policy). He persisted most adamantly and obstinately that for any action in Syria, the USA needed prior approval from the Security Council (where Russia has a veto. Explains why they were insisting so much on a vote there). A completely legitimate and rather logical argument for which the USA has no counter, being one of the founding members of the UN. Full marks to him also for having reached out the USA with a diplomatic solution, which was comfortable with both the country's stance on the issue. Having maintained throughout that all they cared about in Syria was the use of chemical weapons, the Russian solution involving disarmament of chemical weapons was something that the USA couldn't reject without making a complete fool of itself. Though the sustainability of this solution is in doubt, it effectively nipped in the bud any US intervention.

In short, Vladmir Putin has won for himself and his country a big diplomatic win. He has single-handedly spearheaded the for Syria lobby and won a huge victory by crushing the proposed US intervention. His methods to do so were well planned and chosen - he reached out to the US and international population through the newspapers, he reached out diplomatically to the USA and yet cornered them so effectively by demanding a UNSC vote. Hat's off to this guy!

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