Why Does Russia Oppose the US on Palestine Independence?

I know that the many fans of Juan Cole will hate me for this but I just can’t get into his writings as hard as I try. Here is what he says about the countries that defy the US with their support for Palestinian independence:

With countries traditionally willing to follow the U.S. lead on important geopolitical issues now breaking with Washington on Palestine, it is no surprise that the tier of rising world powers known as the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—is unanimously in favor of the Palestine bid at the U.N.

I understand that it is very tempting to group all of those weird third-world folks with funny names and strange cultures into one homogeneous group that has to serve the political purpose of supporting Juan Cole’s beliefs and then make itself scarce. But that’s just not how things work.

Putin’s Russia has been under the spell of a massive anti-American campaign for many years now. Putin will vote “nay” even if the US suggests that today is Wednesday. The Russian Federation could care less about Palestine. All it cares about is spiting the Americans who are stupid, nasty, miserable and aim at world domination that rightfully belongs to somebody else. Would you care to venture a guess as to who this somebody else is? Exactly.

The myth that the US won the Cold World and now Russia is on its merry way to democracy will cost us all very dearly of we keep dismissing what is going on in this huge nuclear power.

23 thoughts on “Why Does Russia Oppose the US on Palestine Independence?”

  1. The Russian Federation could care less about Palestine. All it cares about is spiting the Americans

    Surely *spiting* the Americans can’t be the main reason. I mean, it sounds as if the vote won’t bring any short/middle term profits, as if it’s done to spite like between 2 people. I’ve found an interesting article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/10/AR2011031001553.html

    Russia is currently the world’s largest oil producer. When the price last spiked, in 2007, Moscow was flooded with money and people close to Putin were suggesting that Russia was genuinely self-sufficient and had no need to engage more deeply with the West.

    Russia seems to kill several birds with this stone of Yes vote:

    1) Rus > US during Russian election time
    I got this idea since the linked article said that “especially in an election year, its leaders may be more vocal in pointing up differences with the West.” But now I wonder – if the next president is known already, why make special efforts, unless it is profitable for foreign policy? Which brings to other ponts:

    2) Strengthening Russia’s good relationship with Arab countries. They sell them weapons and recently I got the surreal experience from ORT news program segment on Russia’s great role in Iran’s nuclear program: sending there Russian scientists (they’re still supposed to stay for several years in Iran), teaching Iran’s workers in Russia, etc. At the same time I read in Israeli newspapers about the idea of Israel attacking Iran, US pov on it, on Iranian scientists killed by somebody to frighten them & stop/delay(?) Iran’s program. It’s a mad, mad world.

    Btw, wiki article “Nuclear program of Iran” begins with this interesting quote:

    There is no reason for Iran to create weapons of mass destruction if United States stopped spending its budget onto the military for neoimperialistic purposes. This article only existed because Iran (And the nondemocratic Middle Eastern countries) was trying to protect itself from western pressure by attempting to create nuclear weapons. None of this would even happen if western pressure to an unnatural shift to democracy did not exist.

    Feel free to revert, but I know at least 1 person would comprehend from this and how to make Israel truly safe.

    Original article:

    Thoughts?

    3) Russia is currently the world’s largest oil producer. Doesn’t it mean that Russia, more than US or any other country, would be interested in destabilized Middle East? Voting for Palestine Independence certainly helps to achieve it in general and to hurt US in particular by forcing it to use the veto. After Obama’s reaching speeches to Arab countries, driving US to the veto corner must be especially satisfactory.

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  2. The countries “traditionally willing to follow the US lead on important geopolitical issues” began to split from the US fold when we decided to invade Iraq. Does this fellow not remember the demonization of France and Freedom Fries?

    For countries like Russia and China, support for Palestinian statehood is cheap. It cost them nothing to oppose the US and gives them a little undeserved credit in world opinion. India has often taken international positions opposite of the US to bolster their appearance of independence. But I think this may actually be a “moral” decision on the part of India and South Africa. How could South Africa support Israel in this when their oppressors were in cahoots with Israel on many issues and on developing nuclear weapons. Brasil and Turkey get to express a moral position, express their independence from the US and build up their international credit.

    As a Jew, I find the dominant government and culture in Israel since the assassination of Rabin to be so repulsive that I sometimes feel like I have to apologize for my religion. I don’t know if the Palestinian path is the right one or not, but I do know that most of the opponents are either disgusting oppressors and repressors or US sycophants or both.

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    1. “As a Jew, I find the dominant government and culture in Israel since the assassination of Rabin to be so repulsive that I sometimes feel like I have to apologize for my religion.”

      -I feel the same way. 😦

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    2. Brasil and Turkey get to express a moral position, express their independence from the US and build up their international credit.

      At least from Israeli news I got the impression that Turkey is on the way to become more Muslim radical, to turn away from the West (and Israel, which Erduan threatened several times lately) and to try to take the leading Muslim Middle East country’s place. Israeli politicians and Prime Minister say that no matter whether Israel would apologize for flotilla or not, Turkey decided to turn away from us, and I believe them.

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      1. The man’s name is Erdoğan, or if your fonts don’t include “ğ”, Erdogan is generally acceptable in the US and western Europe. The “ğ” in the Turkish latinate orthography means that the preceding vowel is doubled.

        For years Turkey tried to join the EU and for years they were turned down because they are a Muslim country, despite the fact that they are geographically in both Europe and Asia. If they were in the EU, they would be the third largest economy in the union and pushing hard for the second largest. They are certainly more modern and developed than Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Portugal and I have found the country to be at least as sophisticated as Italy, Spain. A friend of mine has been in charge of aligning all Turkish engineering standards with European standards and other friends are engineers, professors and investment bankers. A few years ago, I asked them why Turkey was continuing to butt it’s head against the wall of EU bigotry and why not pursue a policy of becoming a central conduit for Middle Eastern education and economic interface with the rest of the world. Essentially, I thought that, like Switzerland, they didn’t need the EU. They said that was becoming a likely course. Obviously, they are pursuing that policy and today they are glad that they are not part of the EU as it faces their current crises.

        What is particularly ironic is that the AK (Justice and Development) Party has been both the most pro-EU party in Turkish politics and the most Islamic.

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        1. I hear that the situation of women in Turkey is quite dire. Not like in Saudi Arabia, of course, but not up to European standards either.

          Spain, while struggling economically, is light-years ahead of even the US in this regard, for example.
          Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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          1. The women that I know well are professionals, engineers, professors and investment bankers and are as free and liberated as women in the US or western Europe. I have one friend who was a visiting professor at a major US engineering university and was a national Koran knowledge champion as a teenager. They have Koran knowledge contests like we have spelling bees. We invited her to join us at a hot spring resort and I was surprised that she showed up in a bikini. She wears jeans and blouses (no head scarf) when she is on campus in Turkey and teaches in English. I have seen some older women in Turkey who are bent over, wearing head scarves and overcoats to they feet, but I have seen the same thing in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and a few in downtown major US cities.

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    3. As a Jew, I find the dominant government and culture in Israel … so repulsive that I sometimes feel like I have to apologize for my religion.

      This sentence bothers me on a level I am not good enough to articulate, but I will try. Antisemites see every “bad” (or bad) Jew as a representative of The Jews, in ways they don’t see members of their own people. You partly seem to have bought it, thus the juxtaposition between Israeli government and your religion. Muslims as a group won’t think to apologize for Muslim horrible tyrannies of countries, for views of most people there when they get democracy (stoning, Infidels, etc), for terror committed by people of their religion and widespread support of it (I recently read a very interested survey of Muslim countries’ residents on the topic). Christians as a group don’t apologize for Russian Church, for Catholic Church, for Church’s collaboration with Nazi Germany or pedophile priests, for bloody history of Christianity, etc. Jews as a group, well, they behave like you do. They feel the need to apologize for something. In your case, for Israel because you disagree with its’ *diplomatic policy*. Mind you, Israel is a small democratic country, not a tyranny, not committing any horrible crimes, except if you view a war it can’t exit as a crime and then US is worse since it leads more wars it chose to lead. I am 100% sure Jews have this tendency of seeing themselves as in Russian say “a boy for beating” since they haven’t been in dominance in any country for 2000 years and got used to be in the position. You as an American Jew don’t have to care about Israel, don’t have to seek information about it, don’t have to love it and don’t have to especially hate it for being Bad Jews and Reflecting Badly on you. It’s what antisemites think.

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      1. “Christians as a group don’t apologize for Russian Church, for Catholic Church, for Church’s collaboration with Nazi Germany or pedophile priests, for bloody history of Christianity”

        -Some do, though.

        “Muslims as a group won’t think to apologize for Muslim horrible tyrannies of countries, for views of most people there when they get democracy (stoning, Infidels, etc), for terror committed by people of their religion and widespread support of it (I recently read a very interested survey of Muslim countries’ residents on the topic)”

        -Again, many do.

        This is not about Jews per se, it is about this culture of nationalism that is very strong and not extremely attractive. I see a similar kind of out-of-control patriotism in Russia right now, and I find it as disturbing.

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        1. Again, many do.

          I talk about average person on the street, about trends, not some such people, who can be found in every country in bigger or smaller numbers.

          This is not about Jews per se, it is about this culture of nationalism that is very strong and not extremely attractive

          But it exists in US too, not less than in Israel or Russia. Yet Diego’s compatriots don’t feel like apologizing. Israel is singled many times both in UN and by private people, Jews and not.

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          1. But Diego is an individual, not a trend, who feels this way. (Sorry for talking about you in the 3rd person, Diego.) What I’m saying that there are always individuals who react in this manner to the injustices their compatriots perpetrate and strange things they engage in.

            The US is heavily disliked in many parts of the world, and this kind of unthinking patriotism is usually the cause. My students keep asking me, ‘Is it true that people around the world hate us for our freedoms?” What can one respond for such an utterly inane question. I’m sure, though, that there are many Americans who are ashamed of such attitudes.

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      2. I was very proud of Israel’s progress for its first couple decades. Then beginning with the massacres at Shatila and Sabra I began to have doubts. In the past 15 years the Charedim and the bigots who immigrated from the FSU have come to dominate Israeli politics. My first wife is a major Israeli human rights activist and, although we divorced 33 years ago, I am very proud of her attempts to bring peace and reconciliation to the area. She is very proud of her efforts to free Natan and Avital Sharansky, but has strong misgivings about the later FSU immigrants who have had very little Jewish identity. I look at the occupation policies of the Israeli government and the fact that most of the “settlers” are parasites who “breed and study Torah” instead of contributing to the country and I have great fears for the future of the country that was once a great experiment and a positive contribution to the world.

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        1. has strong misgivings about the later FSU immigrants who have had very little Jewish identity

          What do you mean by misgivings? That they shouldn’t have been let in? That they hurt Israel by… what? Sharansky is right wing too.

          In the past 15 years the Charedim … have come to dominate Israeli politics.

          Why didn’t Charedim dominate earlier?

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    4. “India has often taken international positions opposite of the US to bolster their appearance of independence”.

      Examples? Citations?

      India’s only visible political stand on international issues that went against contemporary consensus was the non-aligned movement, which was, as the name suggests, not so much opposed as neutral on Cold War polarisation. Perhaps this was bravely defiant of ndia, since it was surrounded by allies of the US (Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh) and the USSR (China), but it still was in direct opposition.

      Since the ‘opening’ of our national economy, we have allied with the US on most matters not concerning Pakistan, and even then we have merely expressed dissent at the US’s continued support of a state the Indian administration considers actively hostile. I’m not certain if you list India’s testing of nuclear weapons as an act of opposition against the US — some Americans of my acquaintance do, and consequently I think rather contemptuously of their ethnocentric arrogance.

      Populist and therefore perhaps inconsequential, but our Prime Minister — who is still in office, serving a second term — had assured Mr. Bush, when he was president, that he was beloved of the people of India. This sentiment did not reflect the Indian people’s feelings towards Bush, of course, as much as it did the nation’s political deferral to the US administration.

      So I am inclined to raise my eyebrow at this off-handed claim, Diego. But it’s nice to have you back.

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      1. I was writing fast and I did not mean that India’s independent positions were just a sham. So if I conveyed that, I apologize. I think that India has pursued an independent international course for decades, sometimes based on what they see as their best interests, sometimes on moral grounds and sometimes both. I do not view taking positions opposite of the US as necessarily hostile to the US, in fact sometimes it can be the most supportive thing a country can do. I think we would have been better served to listen to Chirac in France and Schroeder in Germany before invading Iraq than our toady Blair. And I am very pleased to with the “opening” of the Indian economy. I remember when the Indian cars were rivals to the East German Trabants in bad engineering. Today Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover. What a change! OTOH I am also aware of major domestic problems that persist in the world’s largest democracy regarding economic justice and human rights, just like in the US. Oh, to be a Canadian citizen like Clarissa where everything is peace and light…unless you are a First Nations person.

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        1. In short, no unqualified Utopia anywhere 🙂

          I didn’t think you were implying Indian opposition was simply granstanding, but I did think what I said — you would be hard pressed to find the Indian administration going against global US decisions, excluding affairs pertaining to Pakistan. The success of the Tatas — who are sponsoring a whole wing or building at Harvard, incidentally — or Mittals or Birlas have very little to do with the Indian government, and only a little more to do with it’s political decisions vis a vis the US. And I don’t think you’d be able to find much to the contrary with that opinion.

          Speaking of social justice issues in India — and to promote myself in the best styles of online shamelessness — perhaps you should drop by my new blog every now and then. I’d love to hear your views 🙂
          http://priyankanandy.com/blog/

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        2. I’m at this very moment going through the bureaucratic requirements of my green card process, so this comment made me doubt if this process even makes sense. 🙂
          Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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      2. Is it true that India has been buying Russian weapons and technology which are useless and below the standard of what India can produce in this area as a gesture of good will towards the Russians?
        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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        1. That is the news on the wires and has been for some time, Clarissa, but I am not sure if that is true. At one time, as you know, Russia became India’s partner in bared-teeth diplomacy when the US-Pakistan, US-China nexus was forming, soon after the subcontinent gained its sovereignty. My research with the Indian Chinese has turned up oral narratives about the Indian Chinese providing leather for shoes to Russians at very low prices, to help the two governments express goodwill through trade.

          I haven’t found any official accounts of this, though.

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  3. I do not think Russian weapons are that bad. Also, India does not have problems with diversifying its supplies. It buys from both Western and Russian sources. Some Russian / Israeli hybrids as well. Wherever it believes quality to price ratio is the best.

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    1. True. Also, Russian technology is not bad per se, but it is severely outdated, I believe, and hence lacks vital safety measures. Which is partly why the West is worried about Asian nuclear arsenals — the cut is on safety R&D, which makes the weaponds more unstable and a bigger threat — or so they say.

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      1. From a purely small arms point of view, I have seen, handled and shot some Russian made rifles and shotguns that are beautiful examples of industrial manufacturing. The same Chinese manufactured models are barely functional pieces of junk. Of course the Russian ones were made between 1954 and 1980. I have no idea about the present state of manufacturing or complex weapons systems.

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