Political Editors / April 13, 2017

Haley Calls Out Moscow

U.S. ambassador declares that it’s time for Russia to join civilized nations and give up supporting Assad.

In one of its strongest denunciations to date, the Trump administration on Wednesday made clear that it was not buying Russia’s denial of knowledge or allowance of Bashar al-Assad’s most recent use of chemical weapons. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley in a speech delivered to the United Nations called out Russia for its support of Assad. She stated, “To my colleagues from Russia, you are isolating yourselves from the international community every time one of Assad’s planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians and every time Assad tries to starve another community to death.” Haley pointed out that the rest of the civilized world stood in opposition and chided Russia for being on the wrong side saying, “It is long past time for Russia to stop covering for Assad. It is long past time for Russia to push seriously for peace and not continue to be part of the problem. We need to see Russia choose to side with the civilized world over an Assad government that brutally terrorizes its own people.”

Haley then listed off several demands, including access for inspectors at the base believed to be the launching point for the chemical weapon attack, and a cease-fire in the six-year civil war. She also excoriated the UN for essentially standing by and taking no action to prevent the continued slaughter in Syria, stating, “Month after month we all repeat the same points in this chamber. This council’s relevance depends on taking action to condemn those responsible for violence and to hold them accountable for defying this council’s demands.”

While Trump campaigned on what amounted to a “none of our business” attitude regarding the Syrian civil war, his tone has changed dramatically in the days that have followed the chemical attack. Trump now seems determined in taking the lead in working toward ending the war. Singling out Vladimir Putin over his support for Assad not only goes a long way in clarifying the U.S.‘s desire to once again take a leadership role, it also communicates that Trump is no longer content to let the Russians solve the Syrian problem. Trump appears to have embraced the fact that, like it or not, the U.S. can no longer “lead from behind.”

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