In answer to the United States and France’s openly stated intention of bombing Syria, Russian officials have constantly repeated the importance of not violating Chapter VII of the UN Charter, concerning acts of aggression. President Putin also mentioned this point inhis New York Times article:: “Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”
None of this should come as a surprise, since this was also Russia’s position with regard to the illegal bombing of Serbia by NATO in 1999, as well as the illegal invasion of Iraq by a coalition led by the US and the UK in 2003.
It seems clear, therefore, that upholding international law is a fundamental principle of Russian foreign policy. Such an unwavering and principled position would be admirable for a nation-state, were it not for the fact that Russia adopts this position not because of a high moral standard but out of necessity. There are two reasons for this.
On the one hand, Russia is one of only a handful of nations in the world to have a truly independent foreign policy. Apart from the United States, only China, India, Iran and Russia (and perhaps one or two others) are impervious to foreign pressure when acting on the international stage. This is certainly not the case of Western nations, as their timid and muted reactions even to the most egregious behaviour by the United States make clear (the Assange and the Snowden affairs are good recent indications of their subservience to Uncle Sam).
On the other hand, Russia cannot disregard international law; only the United States can do that. Russia therefore has an interest in convincing the USA (and its allies) to follow international law, according to the principle that a weak nation benefits more than a strong one when commonly agreed rules are followed by all. The strongest nation, currently the United States, is naturally always tempted to violate international law, simply because it can generally do so with impunity. This explains why the United States constantly feels constrained by the international law to which it is bound, and why it does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
También en Blasfemias:
No essencial, Putin aproveitou uma janela de oportunidade escancarada pelo desastrado presidente americano para voltar a colocar a Rússia como actor decisivo na geopolítica mundial, com foco especial no Médio Oriente e no Islão, donde estava afastada desde, pelo menos, a invasão soviética do Afeganistão. E a mensagem foi muito clara: a pax americana terminou, e o mundo conta novamente com a Rússia para equilibrar o xadrez mundial. A carta “escrita” por Putin é, de resto, uma peça admirável de mestria e de cinismo político, porque utiliza os valores que são caros aos EUA para os chamar à ordem e envergonhar o presidente americano.