The Bear Growls
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June 19, 2012: Despite continued violence in Syria, Russia refuses to join the rest of the world in condemning the Syrian dictatorship. While agreeing that the Syrian government is killing a lot of civilians, all Russia will call for are negotiations between the Syrian government and rebels. Russia is part of an international alliance (including China, Iran, North Korea. Venezuela, Cuba) that oppose international efforts to overthrow despotic and oppressive governments.
Russia refuses to budge on this point because Russia has been turning into a despotic government over the last decade. Russia has not got an absolute dictator, but an elected government that uses a high degree of state control of media and the electron process to manipulate election results to keep an authoritarian leader (popular with many Russians) in power. The Russian leader of this process, newly elected president Vladimir Putin, has a growing problem with a protest movement that refuses to back down. New regulations make it more difficult to stage a legal protest and increase the fines for those who are arrested. Russian police are now raiding the homes of suspected protest leaders, to intimidate them and gather evidence for trials. The government appears ready to do whatever it takes to stamp out local opposition to a Russian dictatorship. Opposition parties have responded by merging, to form RPR-PARNAS and vow to continue large street demonstrations to protest Putin's despotic ways.
For a week the U.S. criticized Russia for sending helicopter gunships to Syria. The complaints continued even after Russia pointed out that these were Syrian helicopters that had been sent to Russia for refurbishment and were now being sent back. The U.S., and the UN, has been unsuccessful in getting Russia to halt shipments of weapons, munitions and other military equipment to the Syrian government. Russia insists that business is business, and that the U.S. and other nations are supplying the Syrian rebels with weapons.
The Russian Navy has been maintaining a naval patrol off the Syrian coast for over a year now, since the rebellion began there. This is in addition to several more warships from the U.S. and West European states. Several hundred Russian personnel are building facilities for the Russian Navy at the Syrian port of Tartus and Russia continues to deliver weapons and military equipment to Syria. Russia is now rumored to be sending several hundred marines to increase security around the Russian facilities in Tartus. This would have Russian troops fighting Syrian rebels, which would put NATO nations under pressure to halt this more energetic "foreign intervention" on the side of the Syrian dictatorship.
Russia has increased its military training flights over Armenia. So far this year, there have been about a dozen training flights a week by Russian military aircraft based in Armenia. Azerbaijan is again threatening war with its archenemy Armenia. Russia has long supported Armenia (which, like Russia, is Christian) against the Azeris (who are Moslem Turks). These days, Russia sends diplomats to Azerbaijan to placate the Azeris, and promises to defend them if they are attacked by neighboring Iran, or whatever it takes to calm down the Azeris. When that fails, the bear growls.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.