#America, #Russia and #Syria: The weakened West | The Economist

The deal over Syria’s chemical weapons marks a low for those who cherish freedom

1972 Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, suddenly decided to turf out thousands of Soviet military advisers. Menaced by Egyptian leftists and undervalued by the Kremlin, he calculated that he had more to gain from siding with America. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s secretary of state, administered some deft diplomacy to broker a ceasefire between Egypt, Syria and Israel in the Yom Kippur war, and American aid duly flooded into Cairo. So did American influence: the Soviet hold over the Middle East never recovered.

The plan to wrest chemical weapons from Syria, shortly to be embodied in a UN resolution, has echoes of that era—except that the modern Metternich is a serial abuser of human rights and occasional op-ed writer on democracy for the New York Times, called Vladimir Putin. Russia, the country he leads, is too frail to regain its place in the Middle East. But this week, a decade after the invasion of Iraq, it suddenly became clear just how far the influence of the West has ebbed. The pity is how few Americans and Europeans seem to care about that.

See the rest of the article on the Economist website here:  America, Russia and Syria: The weakened West | The Economist

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