Russia and China on Tuesday scuttled a Western attempt to introduce a resolution on Iran's nuclear defiance at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, diplomats said.
The question now becomes - why? Just the usual intransigence the wannabe superpowers display in order to be taken more seriously? Or is there an actual reason for their refusal to sign on to the sanction resolution?
Well, it appears, at least according to this article, that they felt shut out of the process of drafting the resolution:
The decision appeared to be the result of lingering unhappiness by the two world powers about not being informed earlier of plans for such a resolution.
Moscow on Monday had threatened not to back new U.N. sanctions against Iran unless the West gave up its resolution plans. Then on Tuesday it signaled that it was ready to back such a document if it was given substantial input in drafting it before deciding later in the day that it was against it after all, said the diplomats.
Asked why Russia and China were opposed, one of diplomats said Moscow decided to withdraw its support "on principle" and Beijing, which often takes a cue from Russia on the Iran nuclear dispute, followed suit. He, like others accredited to the IAEA, spoke on condition of anonymity because his information was confidential.
If true, then this is a failure of diplomacy. I'm not a big fan of the UN, don't see much usefulness there, but it isn't like we don't know how it works. If the votes of Russia and China are necessary to pass a resolution, why didn't we and our partners (Britain, France and Germany) include them?
If it isn't true, if we did try to include them and they refused the opportunity (certainly not unheard of) and are putting out false spin (again, certainly not unheard of) then it would appear the old East-West split seems to be reestablishing itself (and recent Russian rhetoric sure seems to reinforce that view).
And, of course, there's always the economic end of the puzzle. Iran is a very important trading partner with Russia and the third largest supplier of China's petroleum needs. Why jeopardize that when you've signed on to previous sanctions (demonstrating you are a 'team player') and aren't at all keen to further irritate Iran?
In fact, this again merely demonstrates that as a world body, the UN has extremely limited utility and, as usual, and unsurprisingly, despite the UN, nations are going to act, almost without exception, in their own best national interest. The fact that Russia and China are again on one side pushing back against the West should really come as no real suprise. Other than a little economic freedom, China is the same country it was before the USSR imploded, and Russia, it seems, is moving back in the authoritarian direction once again. The tradition of a previously shared ideology, trade and shared borders seem to make them natural allies. I say watch for more and more of this in the future. And, as suggested, don't be surprised when it happens.
It’s a diplomatic failure, but one rooted in the fact that US influence and importance has been diminished. In the past, the US could draft the resolution, and then negotiate with Russia and China. Now, as Ahmadinejad goes to Iraq to help cement Iraqi influence there (while the so-called Sunni awakening starts fighting the government — that could be seen coming!), and Iran is seen by both China and Russia as a major regional power in Central Asia/the Mideast. The US is seen as having lost much of its capacity to shape results in the region, and with the US going into recession and oil over $100 a barrel, the balance of power has shifted strongly against the US. American policy makers are dealing with a situation they did not expect a few years ago: American power and influence has declined precipitiously, as countries rebalance and re-assess America’s relevance and importance.
The last reassessment yielded detente, and the saying "Only Nixon could go to China." One wonders if this will yield something similar, and we may end up saying that "only McCain could go to Tehran."
Erb, since when has China or Russia ever come down on our side of things, unless it directly benefitted them? This is not a failure of diplomacy, or of (your claim) diminished position in word affairs", but rather the lure of oil, on China’s part...na dannoyance at our lack of butt-kissing on the part of the Russians.
The UN has become a way for such states to work in their own best interest. And since such actions are worked through the vaunted UN, they can’t be seriously questioned.
The US is seen as having lost much of its capacity to shape results in the region, . . .
No, we recently demonstrated an ability to get things done on the ground in both Afganistan and Iraq. Certainly these things haven’t turned out in an ideal manner, but when has that happened in the Middle East?
What has typically hurt us most in the ME is the weak Clinton approach (where low casualties were the priority, since Clinton was mostly concearned with poll results) and the even weaker Carter approach, and other signs of obvious weakness. Even Bush 41’s early end of the first Gulf war (allowing the Republican Guard to escape) was no doubt seen as a sign of weakness; an unwilingness to act decisively and take things to their conclusion.
The key to ME diplomacy is to show an ability and wilingness to use force.
Any failure to get China, Russia, or anyone else to go along with us is obviously a failure on our part, not because of differing goals and objectives of the other parties. The world revolves around us. The rest of the world has no independence, just reaction to our action.
I think I am catching on. Solipsism as Weltanschauung. Consistency, at least.
No, we recently demonstrated an ability to get things done on the ground in both Afganistan and Iraq.
You’re joking, right? Afghanistan is deteriorating, and in Iraq violence is up, the Sunni allies we made are now turning against the government, Ahmadinejad is greeted by Maliki who does not object when he says that Iraqis don’t like Americans and like Iranians better, and our influence is waning (actually I go into more detail on this in my blog today — it’s astounding how far we’ve fallen so fast). Look at the economy. Look at Afghanistan. Look at Iraq — the real situation politically, not glowing reports from pro-military bloggers who noted only the decrease in deaths at the end of the last year (though even that’s starting to turn around). Wake up! We’re in a big mess, and you can only whistle past the graveyard so long before you have to deal with reality!
Just because everything isn’t playing out as we would like doesn’t mean our power is waning. Sorry, you are going to have to put up with a robust US for a long time . . .
That era is already over. Taking out Saddam apparently did more for Iran than it did for us. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and Pakistan is turning away from us, realizing that they have little to gain or fear from us. Our economy is dipping into recession, the dollar is plummeting, and the failures in Iraq show the limits of our military power. Sure, we can take out a dictator who already has been severely weakened, virtually nobody doubted that. But that actually weakened us, divided the country, and helped put us on this path to economic crisis.
But don’t worry. I think we’re closer to our values as a nation if we give up trying to be some kind of world empire. This has been a case of classic imperial overstretch, and we now see the consequences. You can remain in denial for awhile, but with each passing day, you seem more and more out of touch with reality.
Again, don’t just take my word for it, consider the facts: Taliban resurgent in Afghanistan, Pakistan moving away from the US, Ahmadinejad going to Iraq, dissing the US alongside Maliki who does nothing to refute him, militias running most of Iraq, Sunni awakening allies of the US now fighting the Iraqi government, the dollar in steep decline, the US moving to recession, oil over $100 a barrel, Russia and China forging strategic partnerships with Europe and Mideast countries like Iran, and the US military overstretched and bogged down, no longer feared.
Sure, we can take out a dictator who already has been severely weakened, virtually nobody doubted that. But that actually weakened us, divided the country, and helped put us on this path to economic crisis.
Well, Saddam doubt we would actually act. What W proved is that he would act, something Clinton basically woudn’t do.
As far a dividing the country, it was already divided. The hate America first crowd already hated America before Iraq.
Bush divided the country. It is to laugh. It seems to me the country has been divided over one issue or another for quite some time. Even becoming independent was not unanimous. As old as I am, I still seem to have missed this supposed golden age of unity. Perhaps someone can tell me when it was, so I can read up on it and wax nostalgic for a time that never was.
Erb is — but I’ve concluded may not even realize it — just recycling 1960s and 1970s KGB propaganda about the deterioration of American strength, division in the country (which he did everything he could from his academic cubbyhole to inflame), and the rise of new, vigorous powers in the wake of American decline. This is a program that the America-hating Left always works. It’s almost like a carnival act passed from one generation of carny sad-sacks to the next.
One of Boris’s most significant problems now is the building success in Iraq, which is starting to be reflected in polls of Americans. It also pulls the rug out from under the nutjob base of the Democrats, who will see increasing hedging by their candidates on the antiwar mandate.
Even the New York Times got into the change in Iraq with a story about how younger Iraqis are tired of the clerics meddling so much with their lives. Yes, I wrote "The New York Times," the soprano of the defeatist choir.
What frustrates Erb, who detests the United States, is a president who despite all the political damage it caused him, stayed with the effort in Iraq. That sort of serious and strong commitment by America to a major reform in the middle of the Middle East brought out all the America-haters from the universities, and now Erb will go into the long denial that the academic Left always engages in when success is nigh (Cf. the Cold War).
As for the Russians and the Chinese, where were they when the Israelis took out that target in Syria a few months back? The new rule seems to be that if it needs doing, do it without fanfare and don’t put us in a position where we have to react. "Hello, Iran? Did you see how Putin didn’t react to what happened in Syria?"
What W proved is that he would act, something Clinton basically woudn’t do.
And look where it’s got us — weakened, divided, in economic crisis, lacking allies, and finding both Iraq and Afghanistan unstable, with Pakistan and Iran filling the void. An American visits Iraq, there are huge security problems. Ahmadinejad visits, and he can move around easily — Iran is entrenched in Iraq, the militias that run most of the Shi’ite part of the country are Iranian backed, and the government is weak and basically impotent.
And when you go into silly rhetoric like "the hate America crowd" I have to chuckle. You don’t realize how out of touch and out of date your thinking is. That era is over. Reality bites. Get used to it. You guys can complain when I cite the facts and give my analysis, but you seem utterly unable to refute it. You, rather than deal with reality, you slip into insult and bravado. That’s harmless to everyone but yourselves, you’re preventing yourselves from dealing with some hard questions about your assumptions and beliefs about politics.
Yes, Boris, we are "weakened" because we’ve killed tens of thousands of terrorists and taken two Muslim countries away from lunatics.
And this "weakness" has extended to not being attacked again as we were on 9/11 for going on seven years. No one expected that, so that in itself is a sign of even more weakness.
An "economic crisis" is not when you have a period of slow growth or even a recession, which hasn’t even happened yet. Recessions are a part of the business cycle. They help cut the dead wood out of the economy. (If only there were a way to have a government recession, or better yet, an academic recession.)
You have to "chuckle," you say, when you’re identified as an America-hating academic? Pray tell, how else would you be described? How else could you be described? You ceaselessly try to portray the United States as being in failure mode, with its huge economy, profoundly adept military, and fantastic ability to adapt and grow to meet challenges.
I guess a few weeks over in Eutopia, where they represent themselves as a world power after a half-century of free-riding on the U.S., some of the delusions of grandeur have rubbed off on you.
Return now to the poor 18-year-olds who already know better than you do, and try to convince them their country sucks.