Syria: Crime and Punishment
In Dostoyevsky's "inescapable" Crime and Punishment [Преступлéние и наказáние, Prestupleniye i nakazaniye] a strangely unavoidable character, Raskolnikov, premeditates a murder to which he has been driven, in his view, as a redeemable necessity because of his his desperate condition. He intends to stalk and kill a pawn broker from whom he has previously borrowed money, then, after the "deed," steal the broker's money and other valuables which had been pawned as security.
During the conduct of his carefully planned crime, unexpected complications arise, causing him to murder yet another victim before he can find and steal the pawn broker's purse. Hearing the noise of the crime, the police are summoned, and Raskolnikov panics, making a clumsy escape -- all quite removed from the fantasy of his premeditation in which the event unfolded without incident.
This is not a post concerning classical Russian literature. However, all these brutally over-abbreviated details of the story are relevant to this post's topic.
The Inescapable and Unavoidable Syria
As more and more video accounts showing the agony and tortured death of those subjected to the Assad gas attack, Western electorates respond in a predictable way, although that "predictable way" is nothing less than painfully "purified antipathy."
To a single soul, those Western electorates are still quite broken and bruised from the Bush W. military oil adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Across the European continent and the Northern Hemisphere each of these voters still winces, embarrassed, mortified, by the naive credulity with which they were swayed by the outright lies of the Bush autocracy. ["Autocracy?" Recall that George W. Bush was appointed President by the political servants of the old Supreme Court -- not the electorate. In broad terms the event marked the official end of the representative democracy.]
All though the tormented years of the Syrian uprising, all through the long, horrific, day by day account of the "touch of the dark wind" on the broken bodies of one hundred thousand [plus] corpses, the Russian Federation has stood very steadfastly with the less and less lovable dictator, Assad. The marching orders from the Kremlin specifically included the tacit, unbending litany supporting the Assad regime's constant claims that the opposition forces were foreign mercenaries.
Vladimir Putin As Raskolnikov
Through the dark lens of Dostoyevsky's novel, these were the days when Raskolnikov -- being Vladimir Putin cast in this more modern script -- quietly yet constantly justified anticipating his murderous plan with the mitigating promise that he would use his stolen loot to "help the poor." Although President Putin has scarce evidence of even such imaginary, hollow altruism in his record, we must assume that so long as the Assad atrocities were maintained at a "toothache" intensity, and so long as the Western media's access to them continued to be censored by the regime, the violence was palatable enough for the Russian.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin (image source)|
On the sidelines the ever eager Iranians, driven by an unchanging insane hatred of the West, happily displayed their own impenetrable self-righteousness and encouraged the Russian by cheerfully volunteering to "take the heat" along with them. This is not to say that the affection between the suspiciously popular leaders of the two countries was based on some organic infatuation. Each represented a coldly useful opportunity for the other -- in this case, creating a "marriage made in heaven" deployed to embarrass the Americans.
The Russian Federation maintained a modern military presence in the country, while the Iranians, the "crazy uncle" in this play, would happily march an essentially endless supply of equally crazed troops to the combat theatre across Iraq, the newly hateful, fickle, synthetic ex-ally of the West. The geopolitical temptation was simply too great -- for both of these otherwise unlikely "best buddies."
Putin at home faced the domestic demand for "respect" as the Russian Federation, in a sense, stumbled to its feet as a Phoenix following the ignominious fall of the Soviets. As the equivalent of an "international teenager," the newly born Russian Federation exhibited all the anticipated chest beating of an international, testosterone driven adolescent accompanied by just enough of the bully required to establish, at least as fantasy, its place among the adults at the table.
However, of course, this particular "teenager" was equipped with a few thousand ICBMs.
What had been a low level animosity grew Russian teeth when Mitt Romney finally "iced the cake" -- exactly the old Cold War cake that hundreds of US cracker politicians on the right had already carefully baked with far more salt than the recipe specified -- with his campaign statement classing the Russian Federation as "America's Number One Enemy."
Snowden's asylum was simply another candle.
|Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov (image source)|