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Russia’s inaction should look familiar

Sergey Lavrov is good at his job. Having rooted himself in United Nations affairs for over three decades, the Russian foreign minister has handled his share of problems both in and out of his jurisdiction. He’s been around the block. And along the way, Lavrov has accumulated a base set of more or less consistent guidelines for handling himself. The biggest of these guidelines being a so-called a reluctance to cast the first Western stone.

It’s a position that’s held fast despite reports that last month’s massacre of 108 civilians didn’t contain an armada of combatants, as was originally reported, but consisted of women and children. Nor does it falter after not-so-successful “all-out military assaults” in towns teeming with civilians. And if anything, Kofi Annan’s resolve that the sectarian bloodshed “grows by day”, only strengthens their stance. As the rest of their contemporaries fret over the “best” action towards Syria, Mother Russia’s held to her one time tested tactic: sitting on her hands.

But who are we to talk? We can’t really say it’s something that we are physically fighting despite the slew of media coverage. At some point or another, we’ve turned cold and blind eyes, ears and shoulders to foreign atrocities committed by those who have something of interest to us, be it oil, or national security, or oil.

Ignoring the obvious assistance offered, one needn’t look any further than Gaddafi, whose Libyan “containment” methods may not have been implicitly approved by our country, but went unchallenged for several decades nevertheless. Poking through the archives in South America yields information showing American “approved” clientele that include General Maximilio Hernandez, Roberto Suazo Cordova, General Efrain Rios Montt and General Manuel Noriega.

This isn’t a slam, but it’s a curiosity. The public hasn’t yet decided the roll of the United States in these world affairs, should our country decide who can go where, take and unpack what when they get there? It’s a question that the United Nations toss around on the odd occasion, but it’s been some time since a nation has taken as adamant a stand as Russia has. And it’s interesting that we’ve contested him; we have not provided a better solution. We’ve been just as guilty.

Bryan Washington is a sociology sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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