So now we’ll have to wait and see what happens. During the Bosnian War, Russia was down on her knees and dared not oppose the UN resolution that led to NATO bombing and No Fly-Zones. By the time of the Kosovo War in 1999, Russia was getting back on her feet, but Yeltsin though entirely against NATO’s actions did little to oppose them. That was huge…The old Orthodox Axis which had long stood together in the wars against the Turks and Habsburgs seemed to be over.
The well known No Fly-Zones in Iraq from 1991-2003 were often referred to as a UN mission in our media, but they were not. They were wholly run by the United States and a few allies. The UN never supported them.
With regard to the present situation in Libya, apparently Russia and China decided to abstain from vetoing the UN Resolution. The situation has deteriorated to the point that Russia’s public face would be harmed if they vetoed the Resolution, though I am quite confident they would have liked to. I’m not alone in my surprise at Russia’s vote for the resolution. Typically Russia does not support UN intervention in other state’s domestic affairs, and certainly would not support NATO’s expanded role.
NATO leadership I imagine is ecstatic. They can now operate under the cover of a UN mandate and NATO’s role in the world continues to expand and transform….
One wonders whether Russia decided to be silent to assuage the antagonism with NATO over Georgia? Or perhaps Russia is collecting diplomatic chips to cash in at a later date? Something of a combination of the two? That would be my guess. Russia certainly does not want to see NATO intervention, but in this case her cooperation earns points and she potentially doesn’t lose anything.
Russia isn’t a supplicant on her knees anymore as she was in the 1990’s, but contrary to our public perceptions she’s hardly some kind of military juggernaut. Russia’s power is in energy, and she has nuclear weapons. Russia’s standing as a nuclear state does not at least to me seem to be in the same role and spirit as what we find in the United States. Russia is not projecting beyond her historical sphere, so her nuclear weapons at present function primarily as a deterrent. Her language was a little more aggressive in 2003…America had just invaded Iraq…but it was still limited to the Russian sphere.
For the United States, nuclear weapons are a deterrent, but they often function as more of a threat than people realize. It is well known there are more than a few, today and in the past in American military and diplomatic circles that would use nuclear weapon tactically. Thankfully these people have not had their way. The closest we came to actual use was during the Bush years. Already using low-grade Depleted Uranium there were many pushing for the tactical nuclear ‘bunker busters,’ but the project seems to have been dropped for now. The point is, the United States wants to use their nuclear power status as part of International Projection….carrying the Big Stick, but of course the United States doesn’t walk so softly anymore.
It will be interesting to see what happens in Libya. Apparently NATO is going to war. The military brass will have their moment. Gaddafi came to power in 1969 by overthrowing the Western puppet regime established after WWII. Italy had grabbed Libya from the crumbling Ottoman empire and since Italy was the enemy during most of WWII, and the European Continent had been lost, the Allies engaged in North Africa. Egypt was part of British domains and they pushed into Libya. This eventually developed into the North African Campaign.
For Libya a long tale of Western intervention moves to the next chapter with…more Western intervention. Gaddafi is deplorable to be sure, but then why did Western powers start selling him arms after his 2003 coming out party? Once again Western Elites….the military industrial machine got rich, but now the taxpayers of NATO nations are left with bills and the biggest dupes of all, Western militaries will have to risk their lives fighting Gaddafi who very well may be using Western weapons and systems against them. It’s a racket, nothing ever changes. I hope the Libyan people get something out of this. If history is any guide, what will they end up with….another Western proxy just like they had before Gaddafi. And if this turns into some long drawn out conflict you can be sure all the arms dealers of the world (often acting on behalf of governments) will descend on Libya like flies around a carcass.