Cultural Revolutions

Libya and Putin

Verbal sparring between Premier Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev over Western intervention in Libya has raised questions about a split in the Russian “tandem,” and Putin’s criticisms of the intervention may reflect Russian fears of possible U.S. interference in the political struggle in Moscow.  On March 21, Putin compared the Western coalition air strikes, authorized by a U.N. resolution stating that a “no-fly zone” would be aimed at protecting civilians, to the Crusades.  “The resolution,” said Putin, “is flawed and defective.  It allows everything.”  The Russian premier said he was concerned over “the ease with which decisions to use force are made in international affairs,” something Putin called a “persistent tendency in US policy.”  “During the Clinton era,” said Putin, “they bombed Belgrade.  Bush sent forces into Afghanistan, then under an invented, false pretext, they sent forces into Iraq and liquidated the entire Iraqi leadership . . . Now it is Libya’s turn, under the pretext of protecting the civilian population.”  Putin added that Libya was not a democracy, but “that does not mean that someone is allowed to interfere in internal political conflicts to defend one of the sides.”

Russia had abstained from voting on the resolution to authorize force, not using its U.N. Security...

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