In an interview on the Charlie Rose show Sept. 25, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to Rose's sometimes rude, and insistent attacks on Russian policy on Syria, with a virtual lesson on international law. Then, at the conclusion, he stunned Rose by raising the real issue which looms behind the Imperial regime-change policy being pursued by the British and the Obama administration: the danger of nuclear war.
The matter came up when Rose asked about the fate of the Arab spring, and whether Russia feared it. Lavrov responded, "Well, I think they're now in the Arab Autumn." Where do you think it's going, asked Rose. "Well, I hope it's not going to the nuclear winter," replied Lavrov.
When Rose responded, Lavrov said, of course, that was only a figure of speech. Rose, clearly shocked, could only respond, "nuclear winter — devastation of a nuclear attack."
The message was obviously delivered, as to what is actually going on with Western policy on the Middle East cockpit, as a whole. Just as General Makarov, and Prime Minister Medvedev, have said before him, Lavrov let it be known that the stakes in the current geopolitical game, are the ultimate ones: thermonuclear extinction.
The first part of the discussion centered primarily around Syria. Lavrov emphasized Russia's ongoing commitment to the Geneva agreement of June 30, in which the parties were to work out their differences through dialogue, despite the decision by the opposition and the Security Council not to endorse that agreement. What the international community must do, and what Russia supports, is the cessation of the bloodshed. "The number one priority is to save human lives," but others instead seek regime change.
As the discussion moved to previous precedents for such action — such as Libya — the insouciant Rose commented that he understood Russia to have been "offended" by the removal of Qaddafi. "Offend" is not the right word, said Lavrov. The right word is "cheat," and that's what was done in the Libyan case on the question of the no-fly zone, and on the arms embargo resolution.
Rose kept pressing on Russian "support" for Assad, which Lavrov denied. He has done too little, too late, Lavrov said. But "we cannot pretend that he is fighting every day unarmed people." At the same time the armed opposition, which he said began in May of 2011, was being told by others to "keep fighting to the end." It was Lavrov who mentioned that there are war crimes being committed in Syria, but on both sides. The issue cannot be to decide who should run the government, but to stop the violence, and ensure that all minorities are respected.
Later on, as Rose kept claiming that Russia's support is what is keeping Assad in power, Lavrov encapsulated the Russian government's position, as follows: "We say we're not going to endorse a Security Council resolution, which is demanding a unilateral capitulation? Yes. We cannot let this resolution pass, because this is absolutely unrealistic and this would only invite outside intervention." Rose responded, what if the regime is so morally offensive it has to be changed? Lavrov said that he can't visualize such a situation.
He elaborated: "There is one very straightforward example. There were several terrorist attacks against the Syrian government. No only against the security headquarters but also against absolutely civilian sites, social infrastructure, health infrastructure." A couple of times the Security Council condemned the attacks, but "as of a few months ago, our colleagues, including the United States, started refusing to condemn terrorist attacks against the Syrian government... The reason given to us was that, exactly what you said. The regime is absolutely inhuman, and basically anything goes. This is a very scary position to justify terrorist attacks by anything. That was never acceptable to the Untied States... I believe this is a very slippery slope..."
Lavrov then drew the conclusion, as have Putin and Medvedev before him: This is a question of the United Nations Charter and international law. That also includes the right to veto, which, in fact, the United States had insisted upon at the founding of the United Nations.
When the discussion turned to Iran, Lavrov reiterated Russia's position of opposing trying to bludgeon Iran into compliance, as that is counterproductive. On assessment, he said Russia agreed with the U.S. "There is no political decision [to build a bomb-ed.] in Iran. So if people believe the more you provoke Iran, the sooner Iran would take this decision, then I think that this is a very dangerous path." He also stressed the need to involve Iran on solving the Syria crisis, endorsing the Morsi proposal for a quartet of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran.