Jan 15, 2013

Kevin’s Syria plan: moral high ground or pure politicking?

Why is Kevin Rudd pushing a policy on Syria he well knows won't get up? Because he's outraged that 60,000 people have died, no doubt. But he also seems to be playing politics.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

When Kevin Rudd started his run in foreign affairs, while Labor was still in opposition and Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman was Laurie Brereton, he did so by being a backbencher all over the media on international issues. Rudd’s new statement on Syria, war crimes and support of the anti-Assad forces recalls his pre-power prognostications, as well as raising a big question about how the international community should engage on Syria.

Rudd’s plan is to support Syria’s rebels to speed up the overthrow of the Assad regime. His grounds for wanting to do so are that the Assad regime has been committing crimes against humanity. This, Rudd says, invokes the morally imperative doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

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9 thoughts on “Kevin’s Syria plan: moral high ground or pure politicking?

  1. Dion Giles

    It is often forgotten that when John Howard was lying his head off about Iraqi WMDs Kevin Rudd was echoing the same lies, differing only on the appropriate timetable for aggression on their basis.

  2. John Bennetts

    Rudd is certainly no team player and has become an embarassment for his side.

    Regarding spelling: Was Carr diffusing or defusing Rudd’s actions, Professor Kingsbury?

  3. CML

    How cynical of you Professor? Everyone else in foreign affairs is as pure as the driven snow, but if Kevin Rudd says anything that makes sense to the vast majority of Auistralians, he is just being “populist”. How easy it seems to be for people like you to dismiss the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians as “political”.
    Well, as far as I’m concerned they are people just like us, and I would hope you are not making decisions about such things if they ever occur in Oz. I únderstand your reluctance on this matter because we don’t know who the Syrian “opposition” are. But isn’t that something to be sorted out AFTER we stop the carnage?
    I agree with Mr. Rudd, who has more foreign affairs “know-how” than the rest of the current government members put together. And he is a very smart cookie!!

  4. Dion Giles

    Provided, that is, that sending “help” doesn’t actually increase and prolong the carnage and leave the survivors prey to a bunch of tribal mullahs or tribal warlords or both.

  5. extra

    Sorry to say it, but this looks like further evidence that it’s still ‘all about Kevin’.

    Most likely explanation for this latest utterance is that, in an effort to get noticed by those in power, Kevin is making noises of support for the British position ahead of the visit of British Foreign Secretary William Hague for the annual Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations meeting in Perth next week. Perhaps Hague will quote him approvingly …

    Once again, the interests of the long-suffering Syrian people come a distant second. Mr Rudd, along with a lot of others in mainstream media and politics, promote the illusion that this is a pro-democracy rebellion, not an anti-government one.

    What started as a few protests against a sclerotic regime rapidly mutated into a sectarian civil war, with numerous outside players pursuing their own interests. The USA wants to be on the side of the victors, whoever they might be, and to weaken the influence of Iran along the way. The Gulf states also want to have a go at Iran for a range of geopolitical and religious reasons. Turkey is worried about what the Kurds might get up to. And the Syrian people are the meat in the sandwich.

    Providing more arms may hasten the departure of the Assad government, but few public figures are being honest and addressing the situation after that. More arms will extend the inevitable revenge-seeking, ethnic and religious cleansing, and warlord-ism as local groups, militias and foreign jihadists take the law into their own hands. And more arms will make it more difficult to rebuild consensus and Syria’s shattered institutions.

    The Syrian populace deserve better than Kevin’s opportunist utterances.

  6. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    How much noise did Rudd make about Sri Lanka?

    Oh, I see. Carry on.

  7. AR

    No one, apart from Iran and Saudi Arabia/Qatar, wants to see Syria become an Islamist state. ” Perhaps a syntax error but are you seriously conflating the ‘Islamic state’ Iran & Saudi might fancy?
    I’m fascinated by the deafening silence from one regime, a neighbour which one might expect to be concerned about insurgency threatening to overthrow a secular autocracy – Israel.
    They know that the departure of Assad will install a Salafist/Wahabist sunni dictatorship, a’la Libya & Egypt (Tunisia still undecided)committed to the destruction of Israel.

  8. jesse mandrigorian

    so kevin rudd wishes to arm those who would bomb a university just as exams start.

    well i don’t suppose it matters much at this stage, US/NATO have been coordinating this faux “uprising” since day one.

  9. Roni

    CML: ‘..but if Kevin Rudd says anything that makes sense to the vast majority of Australians, he is just being “populist”.’
    Professor Kingsbury is being generous in assuming Rudd even knows R2P can’t yet apply in Syria.
    A more ‘populist’ argument would have said Rudd is just as clueless about it as you and ‘the vast majority of Australians’ who have no more interest in international events than Boo Hissing the one dressed up in the twirly mustache and clicking Like on the Kony2012 link.
    I would go a step further and state R2P itself is the clueless, populist (and imperialist) argument. We should be honest about the devastation such ‘moral high ground’ has unleashed in Libya and seriously consider never invoking R2P anywhere ever again.

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