Former American national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski warned on Friday that the United States and their allies are “unintentionally recreating the Sino-Soviet bloc against” them by vilifying these countries’ stance in the Syrian crisis.
China and Russia on Thursday again used their veto power in the United Nations Security Council to block a resolution that threatened sanctions against the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad if it did not suspend its brutal suppression of a sectarian uprising in Syria. It was the third time that China and Russia vetoed a resolution from Western members that aimed to put pressure on Assad.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said that his government could not accept a resolution that open the path to “external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs.”
Moscow abstained from a resolution that allowed member states to take “all necessary measures” to stop a similar crackdown in Libya last year. That document quickly paved the way for an Arab and NATO military intervention in the North Africa that deposed Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi. The Chinese and Russians would not like to see a repetition of foreign military action against a Middle Eastern dictator that is hostile to the West.
The mistake that Western allies made, said Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, was that they “rushed the gun. We announced in advance what the outcome must be. Assad must go.” That left no room for negotiation and forced them into a standoff with the Chinese and Russians who are opposed to the notion that states have a right or even responsibility to protect civilians in other countries by toppling their government.
Brzezinski argued that the United States should still seek an understanding with China and especially Russia, which is an ally of Assad’s, about the future of Syria. “But we are not going to do it if we abuse them in the UN.”
Britain’s ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said on Thursday that he was “appalled” by the Sino-Russian veto. “The consequence of their decision is obvious,” he added. “Further bloodshed and the likelihood of descent into all out civil war.”
Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that history will judge the two vetoing members “harshly” and announced in the Security Council that instead of waiting for the United Nations to take action, the United States “will intensify [its] work with a diverse range of partners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Assad regime and to deliver assistance to those in need.”
What the Western allies are achieving with this sort of language is that they’re “pushing the Russians and the Chinese together,” said Brzezinski, “and that’s not good in a larger sense.”