Moscow faces serious test to resist West

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/12 21:43:43

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" Reports say that the US and its allies still need some time to coordinate military action to take place this weekend. 

If a military strike happens in the end, the situation could be much worse than in April last year, when the US shot over 50 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase for a suspected chemical weapons attack.

The US military action a year ago was abrupt. The scale of the operation was not large and it was conducted by the US alone. This time, it has been taking Washington longer to foment a plan. Apparently, it will be a multinational joint operation of a larger scale with the sense of a showdown.

The current crisis came right after the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the US and EU countries. The world is now witnessing the most hostile relationship between Moscow and the West with the fiercest conflicts since the end of the Cold War.

Moscow has been pushed into a corner. A number of Russian officials stated that Russia will shoot down missiles flying into Syria. Some said the sources of the missiles will also be targeted. Such a statement was widely quoted by Western media and is seen by many as a sign of escalation of the conflict.

The conflict will test Russia's will and ability to fight back against Western strategic pressure. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO's expansion into Eastern Europe has continued to erode Moscow's strategic space. The Crimean issue led to comprehensive economic sanctions from the West. The recent victory of Syrian government forces has consolidated Russia's only strategic frontier in the Middle East. The West is losing its strong grip to compete with Russia in Syria, and so it is preparing to force Moscow to submit through military strikes on Syria.

If the West launches military action in Syria, where Russian troops are stationed, it would be the equivalent of Moscow ordering a military strike in Japan or South Korea, where there are US armed forces. If Russia ever dared do such a thing, Washington wouldn't sit idle.

The Kremlin is facing a tough choice. If it tolerates the US and its allies bombing Syria, then Moscow's bottom line will have been transgressed. Russia may face more unscrupulous pressure from the West. If it rises up to resist, there will only be intensified confrontation with the West. But Russia's capability to resist foreign aggression is strong. It has more military means than economic and diplomatic resources to make opponents afeard.

Once NATO takes direct military action against Syria, will Russia fight back? Does Moscow have the nerve and the ability to do so? That would be the test. But once Russia fights back, what would that mean for the world? An even bigger test.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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