Montana conference speaker slams world’s weak reaction to Putin
The 19and The annual International Conference on Central and Southwest Asia concluded Thursday evening with a keynote presentation by Dr. Amr Al Azam, professor of Middle Eastern history and anthropology at Shawnee State University.
Dr Azam, originally from Syria, appeared on the KGVO Talk Back program “Global Hot Spots” on Thursday and gave his views on how the world allowed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to use chemical weapons in Syria, and finally to invade Ukraine.
“Because of my Syrian roots and origins, I will look at this conflict through a Syrian lens, and what we see happening today in Ukraine was essentially foreshadowed to me by the events in Syria in 2015 and 2016.” , said Dr. Azam.
Dr. Azam commented that in his opinion, only one nation dared to oppose Russia in its many invasions in the region, and that was neither the United States nor NATO.
“The only country that really tried to push back against this Russian intervention and saw it for what it was was Turkey,” he said. “If you remember, in 2015 the Turks shot down a Russian plane which they said had entered their airspace and had been warned several times. But when they realized Turkey might try to push the Russians back, NATO withdrew them and left Turkey, a NATO ally, exposed to try and tackle the Russians on their own.
Dr. Azam said the Biden administration did not want to get involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in his view, because it was afraid of getting too deeply involved.
“President Biden actually sent a message to Zelenskyy that said, ‘I’m sending you a plane to get you out. Yeah. And Zelenskyy said, ‘What? I do not go. We are not giving up,” he said. “Why? It was almost like we wanted this problem to go away. We’re going to wring our hands. Okay, the Russians are going to win again. Look, we didn’t do it on purpose. I mean, we European governments and the US government. We were kicked and screamed into this. We didn’t want that.
Dr Azam said he fully understands any government’s reluctance to challenge the Russians in their brutal expansionism.
“Russia is a very large and potentially or theoretically powerful state with a very large military and has access to nuclear and chemical weapons and so on,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re definitely going to use them, but you should definitely also have some sort of ‘handle with caution’ stuck everywhere. “Hasty actions also have consequences, just as inaction also has consequences. “
The conference was sponsored by the Central and Southwest Asia Program at the University of Montana.
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