A historic Russian victory
Kindly translated by Anne-Marie de Grazia
Credit Photo: La Voix de la Russie
The vote in the Security Council of the United Nations during the night of Friday 27 to Saturday 28 September of the résolution on chemical armaments in Syria, co-sponsored by Russia and the United States, constitutes an important moment in the reconstruction of an international order. This vote, at the unanimity of the 15 members of the Security Council, offers several points which call for comment :
(i) It creates an obligation for all parties present in Syria to turn over the chemical weapons in their possession to the United Nations for the purpose of destruction. It enjoins all parties in presence to cease production and transfer of such weapons.
- (ii) It solemnly reaffirms that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a menace for peace and security.
- (iii) It reaffirms the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria. (iv) It states that in the case of a violation of the accord by any one party, the « chapter VII » clause of the charter will be applied, that is, that there will be a new meeting of the Security Council and that a new vote will be necessary before armed forces can be engaged.
This vote is without any doubt a victory for Russia, as all observers point out. All the parties involved in the Syrian crisis, beginning with France and the United States, had to agree to give in to the legality of the United Nations. Under these conditions, no unilaterally decided strikes can be undertaken. This victory of Russia is also, and especially, a victory for International Law. But it is also a victory for Russia because the resolution recognizes the legal government of Syria as its interlocutor and designates it as such in a peace conference to be held in Geneva. From this moment on, there can no longer be any prerequisite, in particular the departure of Bachar el-Assad. The United States and France have found themselves isolated de facto, not only in the face of Russia but also in the face of the « BRICS » and of a great majority of countries, and had to give in to the logic of the Russian position.
This victory of Russia is historic. It extolls the coherence of its foreign policy implemented by its President Vladimir Putin and its Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Sergey Lavrov, which has made the defense of international legality its cornerstone, as well as it extolls the change in the international balance of power. But this victory also confers new responsibilities upon Russia. From now on, one will expect from her not so much a reactive than a pro-active position on the various international crises.
This victory of Russia must also be put in parallel with the effacement of Europe and the failure of France. This failure is humiliating. France has found itself isolated, and it was not a party in the Geneva negotiations between Russia and the United States, negotiations which made the voting of this resolution possible. This failure is, in depth, the one of the foreign policy pursued by our country. A failure which is the price paid for incoherence: how can one conciliate the action in Mali at the beginning of this year (about which one forgets too soon that it was rendered possible by the availability of Russian cargo-planes for logistical support) with the position taken on Syria? A failure which is the price for an absence of doctrine, or more precisely for a rise in moralism in place of real political thinking. A failure, finally, of our capacity to unite the European Union around our positions. Never has the European Union appeared as divided and position-less in the international arena. France believes to have sacrificed a lot to European construction in the hope that it would derive advantages from it on the international plane, and that its position would come out of it reinforced. It must presently bid farewell to its illusions. The sacrifices of sovereignty have not resulted in the constitution of a unified position of the European Union. But they have given back a legitimacy to Germany as a great power.
Of this failure, lessons will imperatively need to be taken and an assessment made of twenty years of « European construction.” But M. Fabius must also draw the consequences of last night’s vote at the Security Council and take responsibility for this failure by tendering his resignation.