The failure of a sanctions resolution in the U.N. Security Council can only embolden Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to further crack down on demonstrators.
Despite the internal tensions in American politics today, there should be commendation across the political spectrum for the United States’ backing of the resolution. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice surely spoke for lovers of liberty everywhere in condemning the veto of the resolution by Russia and China.
Those two powers are permanent members of the Security Council, with a right of veto. One is a semi-dictatorship that has had a close relationship with Syrian dictators since the days it was the Soviet Union. China is an outright communist dictatorship that deplores any human rights agitation as an affront to national integrity.
Great Britain, Portugal and France compromised on language in the sanctions resolution, in an effort to get something passed, but to no avail. Abstaining from the cause of freedom was little Lebanon, where Syria has been almost an occupying power for years; that vote was understandable. But when South Africa, Brazil and India also abstain, it is disheartening.
The latter three are democracies. Brazil and India are countries that aspire to “great power” status and permanent memberships on the Security Council. By failing to act, they undermine their credibility in future discussions.
“The last double veto by Russia and China was in 2008 and it was in defense of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who, like Assad, is still in power,” acidly commented Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “But he’s not great company to be in.”
No, he isn’t. The dictators club won a round, but one day we are confident the sacrifices of the Syrian people will be vindicated. Unfortunately, the United Nations will be late to the party.