Mounting pressure [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]
The veto by Russia and China a week ago, of a UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria, sparked an international furore.
There is no difficulty in understanding that Russia, which is used to speaking tough diplomatic language, blocked the resolution due to its important military, economic and strategic stakes in Syria. Western countries no doubt expected this.
The Western outcry was directed at Beijing's veto and some of the comments were simply absurd.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, disregarding diplomatic manners, said she was "disgusted" by the vetoes by Russia and China, and both have the blood of the Syrian people on their hands. Some said the veto was a result of China's blind adherence to the "obsolete" principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, or was due to China's efforts to cooperate with Moscow's diplomatic initiative. Some even made the foolish claim that Beijing was worried about a similar uprising to the "Arab Spring" in China.
Western opinion also focused on the change in China's voting behavior in the UN Security Council, from abstention to a clear-cut veto. Ignoring China's past history of vetoes, though far less than those of the United States, they said China's veto signified Beijing's growing "diplomatic assertiveness" or even "diplomatic arrogance". There were even some who suggested that the votes over Syria marked "the start of a new Cold War".
Such comments are senseless. The diplomatic arrogance is in fact diplomatic self-confidence, and cooperating with Russia is the two countries joining hands to defend the norms of international relations.
As for the suggestion that the veto was the start of a new Cold War, it places too much importance on what was simply a veto and amplifies the difference on how to solve the Syrian crisis.
In fact, the West's response to the veto by China and Russia once again demonstrates the hegemony and undemocratic nature of today's international relations and international governance.
It stands to reason that members of the UN Security Council will differ on some issues. The US has vetoed resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue dozens of times. According to Rice's own logic, the US is "disgusting" and has had the blood of the Palestinian people on its hands for decades.
A number of Western countries have long been adopting a paradoxical approach to domestic and international issues. On domestic issues, they adhere to the principles of democracy and freedom, and allow pluralistic debate and dissent; but when dealing with international relations, they prefer media assaults, economic sanctions and even military strikes against countries holding different views.
In fact, the Western media does not represent international opinion or the people of the world.
But by manipulating the Western-owned media, the West can deliver its views and opinions worldwide in a constant barrage, creating the illusion that the West's views equate to world opinion.
However, the fact is, more than 190 countries around the world and "the silent majority" of world people hate war, cherish peace and support efforts to solve conflicts through mediation and dialogue.
A pluralistic world should allow the existence of diverse voices. And those Western countries that always position themselves on the moral high ground should listen more attentively to others and safeguard peace instead of fanning the flames of conflicts.
With regard to the current crisis in Syria, external forces should balance their pressure on the parties involved and urge both sides to the negotiation table. Efforts should seek to achieve a peaceful and orderly political transition, so civilian casualties are kept to the minimum.
The international community should give Russia and China more time for mediation, rather than forcing a hurried vote in the UN Security Council, which has only escalated the crisis rather than resolve it.
The author is a researcher with Institute of West Asian and African Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.