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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/1/15

Thankfully, Russian Leaders are Rational

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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Sukhoi Su-24
Turkey Shoots Down Russian Sukhoi Su-24
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Can you imagine what the United States would do if Turkey - a country that has supported ISIS - shot down an American fighter jet and then executed a U.S. soldier? And then the president of Russia said he supported the jet being shot down and that it was actually America's fault? And consider that this would follow an American commercial airliner being blown out of the sky by ISIS, killing all 224 passengers aboard.

Would it even take more than a few hours for the U.S. to start a massive carpet bombing of Turkey and to say that Russia was supporting terrorism and were spitting on the graves of the U.S. military?

That was the situation last week when Turkey (which has indeed supported ISIS - see #2 in the Notes section) shot down a Russian fighter jet that was flying near the Syrian border, just weeks after a Russian airliner was bombed by ISIS in Egypt.

And to add insult to injury, U.S. president Barack Obama said that he supported Turkey's action and remarkably blamed Russia for the incident.

The hypocritical Obama even had the audacity to say, "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace."

Based on Obama's logic, Syria has the right to shoot down US jets that are dropping bombs on their territory since the US is doing so without the Syrian government's approval. And Pakistan has the right to shoot down US drones because - according to Pakistani officials and the UN - US drone strikes there violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

Clearly, Turkey and the U.S. are provoking Russia. Turkey has a recent history of provocation, including their 2013 false-flag, covert chemical weapons attack in Syria which was carried out as a means to push Obama over his "red line" and to get the U.S. to attack Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

"This incident showed that ... there is a player in the region who is unpredictable and that is Turkey and not Russia," said German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of Turkey's shooting down the Russian jet.

As Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) stated on Saturday, "There is ample evidence of [Turkish] President Erdogan's complicity in ISIS's murderous rampage through Syria and Iraq. Yet, we hold our public rebukes for the Russians, who are battling those terrorists."

But instead of being reactionary and escalating the situation after Turkey shot down its jet, Russia maturely responded by stating, "we do not intend to wage a war on Turkey," and "we are ready to cooperate with the coalition [in Syria] which is led by the United States." (Of course, the US refuses to join a coalition with Russia to fight ISIS - primarily because the US is in Syria to get rid of Assad, not to fight ISIS.)

And to help debunk the West's false narrative that Russia isn't actually fighting ISIS in Syria, Russia also asked France for a map of the so-called "moderate" rebels so Russia can avoid bombing them (but France rejected the request, of course.)

U.S. congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), recently refuted the West's claims on this matter by saying, "Mainstream media promoting false narrative: Russia bombing American-backed rebel forces. Russia [is actually] bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra not US allies."

Russia's rational response to its fighter jet being shot down was refreshing and quite a relief to those who fear a major military escalation between Russia and NATO, of which Turkey is a member.

The US and Turkey are being exposed in Syria and they are being out-maneuvered by Russia, largely because Russian leaders are comparatively rational.

Pragmatism may be the reason for Russia's measured response to its fighter jet being shot down, since without China's military support, Russia may be at a disadvantage if it were to enter into a fight with NATO. If so, at least their response is reasonable and calculated.

Surely, Russia's patience will be tested again as there is no reason to believe the U.S. will halt the provocations, attempting to draw Russia into a larger conflict, whether it be in Syria or in Ukraine.

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Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages and

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