When the UN Security Council last week failed to pass a resolution calling for Syrian president Bashar al Assad to turn power over to his vice-president, Russia and China were named as the chief culprits. Many reasons were cited for their no vote. Stephen Walt points to what may be the most obvious but least cited reason--the regime change that took place in Libya. Many commentators at the time argued that France, England, and the U.S. exceeded the UN resolution allowing military action to protect Libyan civilians. Walt observes that fear of another such over-reaching in Syria may be a major reasons for the Russian and Chinese vetoes. Walt's short analysis at Foreign Policy.MORE: A more fine-grained look at the international issues in the Syria-Iran connection by a former head of Mossad. Interesting. NYTimes op ed.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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