There are three reasons why Donald trump was right, and ordered to launch an attack using cruise missiles on Syrian air base the associated with carrying out last week’s attack with chemical weapons on one of the cities in the North of Syria.
First, the use of chemical weapons — in this case it was used against civilians, including children, is a heinous crime, its use is prohibited everywhere, and it is usually not used even during the Second world war. Such crimes must not remain unanswered. In August 2013, the labour party ed Miliband, and some of the rebels of the Conservative party prevented the implementation of any form of retribution that only led to further atrocities.
Second, trump acted quickly, which is critically important to conduct a clear connection between the crime and the appropriate response. Obama had originally planned to do the same thing four years ago, but then he got mired in the decision-making process and instead agreed with the Russian plan for the removal of Syrian chemical weapons — the plan, as we see today, was not fully implemented.
Third, the us action showed that the new administration is not afraid to oppose Russia, and this is done convincingly, but not irresponsible. A warning was correctly counted, which allowed to avoid victims among the Russian staff, but, nevertheless, suffered serious material damage.
The real test will be this: followed by the missile strike a coherent approach to the further development of relations with Moscow and end the war in Syria. Obama at the time, held the red line, but he failed to fulfil its prevention, while trump has done the opposite — he introduced a red line which he never had. However, all this is very far from the pre-election rhetoric trump on working with Putin, and recent statements regarding what America will focus exclusively on the defeat of the Islamic state (is prohibited organisation in Russia — approx. ed.).
It took only 80 days to the sad truth became apparent to the new President and most members of his team: how would they not hoped to improve relations, Russia under Putin is not a reliable partner. Consistently, successive leaders in Washington and London attempted to work together with Russia but, ultimately, they were disappointed unacceptable behavior or misled at critical moments. The attempt by Hillary Clinton to “reset” the relationship ended in disappointment. All British governments in the last decade tried hard to roll higher on the mountain a heavy stone of relations between the United Kingdom and Russia, however, all their efforts ultimately proved futile, and he is constantly raining down.
For the last labour government ties with Russia were destroyed because of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London with radioactive polonium that was a flagrant and total violation of all accepted standards of law and diplomacy. In addition, Russian troops invaded part of the territory of Georgia, and this was done in order to prevent the formation of a successful democratic country.
The Cameron government tried again to improve relations. I three times visited Moscow as Minister of foreign Affairs and spent a lot of time with many years foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. We used a huge amount of whiskey and vodka in the interests of improving relations. David Cameron also visited the Kremlin and spent many hours of phone conversations with Putin. We wanted to increase the volume of trade and are regularly consulted.
However, each new international crisis to see the differences. After lengthy negotiations about the plan to end the war in Syria in 2012, we and the Americans encouraged the representatives of local opposition that they agreed to share power with the Assad regime, but Russia has not fulfilled his part of the deal and forced Assad to comply with their obligations for peace. At the beginning of 2014, Russia invaded the Crimea and began to destabilize Eastern Ukraine.
And now, in the period of work of the third row of the British Cabinet planned visit by Boris Johnson to Moscow suffered the same fate — a conscientious attempt to improve the situation was the victim beyond the limits of acceptable behavior in another part of the globe. In this case we are talking about its acquiescence regarding the use of chemical weapons or, perhaps, of complicity in this matter.
It is a pity that Boris Johnson failed to defend the West’s position on Syria in the bilateral negotiations with Sergey Lavrov. Boris should not be disturbed by allegations of misconduct put forward in his address to Russia due to the cancellation of the visit. Attempt to ridicule the United Kingdom and to represent him as a puppet of Washington is a Testament to the angry reaction of Russia regarding the existence of a close Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as protective reaction of a regime that wants to change the topic of discussion and not to consider committed in Syria the atrocities.
We have seen enough evidence and know that this is not the strategy we used in order to make Russia an active and reliable partner on global issues, with the exception of willingness to accept annexations, murder and use without hesitation a prohibited weapon. It is important to see what Russia really is: a country with deep social and economic problems, whose economy has long been in decline; a country that is driven on the basis of the rules of the cold war, prepared by the secret services and aimed to keep political and financial position of privileged leaders.
This becomes clear to an increasing number of Russians, and that’s why two weeks ago, tens of thousands of young people, despite significant risks, took to the streets across the country to protest against corruption. There is no excuse to the rest of the world did not know about it. This does not mean that we want a conflict with Putin, and it cannot be denied that there are many issues on which we still should try to cooperate with him — one of these issues is the fight against terrorism. However, we must always realize that the generous gestures will not cause the same response. However, real trust is impossible, and every time he moves one inch, then it will take a few yards.
All this means that the firmness, vigilance and unity of the West should be the motto while pursuing policies towards Russia. When Rex Tillerson will arrive in Moscow this week, he should say that Russia must make a choice: if she will not be able to prevent such excesses, as happened last week, the United States will react. If Russia will intervene in the conduct abroad of democratic elections, its intentions will be exposed and she will not be able to achieve the effects for which it is calculated. If Russia invaded the territory of neighboring countries, the sanctions against it are tightened.
The United States cannot impose its own peace settlement in Syria. But Washington has the ability to greatly complicate the life of Assad and those who support him if he decides to do it. The future will show whether the sudden change trump your approach correction of his erroneous pre-election rhetoric. If so, then it will be a lot of disappointed among supporters. However, others, including us, will welcome the realism of diplomacy and power, as well as the manifestation of hardness in relationship with the country, which, with the exception of such measures, little understood.
William Hague was the foreign Minister of UK from may 2010 to July 2014.