No more ‘Mr. Nice Guy’: Moscow’s firm and swift response forever changes the Grand Chessboard

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November 27th, 2015 –

By: Stevan Gajic, Institute
of European Studies – 

Serbia  – for Fort Russ – 

& edited by J. Flores 



Moscow’s firm and swift response forever changes the Grand Chessboard. The French appeared to vacillate, unable to get firm assurances from their Atlanticist partners in DC.  Has this pushed Hollande towards Putin? 

Events unfolded very quickly
after the Turkish F16 fighter jet downed a Russian SU24 bomber over the Syrian
territory, close to Turkish border. The act was characterised by Russian
president Vladimir Putin as “backstabbing” on the part of the Turks.  Russian authorities and the public are
especially enraged because of the death of one of the pilots, and even more so
by the videos of one of the pilot’s body being treated with utter disrespect by
the Turkmen terrorists in Northern Syria – one of the groups that is well known
for being backed by Turkey.    

It seems that for Russia, the red
line was crossed and it will not tolerate any harm to its forces without
serious consequences and retaliation. To prove their money is where their mouth
is, the Russian planes have fiercely bombed the region of Syria where the
particular group of terrorists were located, and immediately deployed the
notorious S400 anti-aircraft defence systems in their Khmeimim air base near
the Syrian city of Latakia. This system immediately changed the balance of
powers in the region as its range of fire well surpasses the territory of
Syria. Needless to say that other consequences such as an economic embargo were
put in place by the Russian authorities, ranging from poultry imports and gas
deals, to tourism.

So why
did Recep Tayyip Erdoğan make this move? One
reason might be the fear of the Russian-Iranian alliance that was made public
in Teheran only a day before the Russian bomber was shot. Another might be that
Russia destroyed about a 1000 “ISIS” oil trucks and a an oil refinery which was
a great source of cheep oil for Turkey, and some sources say Erdoğan’s family as well. Or maybe Turkey
wanted to retaliate for its F4 airplane that was shot over Syria by the Syrian
Arab Army three years ago. 

Whatever the reason, it seems the Turks regret what
they have done as their  latest official statements
became more apologetic, but not sufficiently, and Moscow will not settle for anything
less than a clear apology. But what is more important is that Turkey officially
announced its fighter aircraft will not patrol the Syrian border anymore,
obviously fearing the S400 might shoot one of them. 

The Turks also did not calculate
another variable before they decided to strike. After the Paris carnage, France
seems to be back on track with its good relations with Russia. Only couple of
months ago, they were in a diplomatic struggle over the Mistral boat deal and
economic sanctions imposed on Russia. But after the Paris tragedy, Francois
Hollande is trying to make up, and join the war against the Islamists and even
forget about the anti-Assad rhetoric.  

Turkey received cold shoulder
treatment from its allies too. NATO’s support for Turkey doesn’t go all the way,
as the North Atlantic alliance has already showed reluctance to fight on the
Turkish side in a possible Russia-Turkish war, and NATO withdrew some of their
Patriot rockets from Turkey only two months ago. At the same time the UK has
changed its position significantly and plans to fight the Islamists actively
now. This might have something to do with David Cameron’s recent visit to China
where he signed a number of large business deals with the emerging Asian

The real question is, did the US
leave Turkey to fry, and maybe led it to confront Russia, only to witness the
consequences and take no part in further events? Or maybe the US are simply not
getting their hands dirty, and want to fight Russia in a chain of proxy wars to
the last Turk, Ukrainian or German (as George Friedman suggested [1]),
as in the “good ol’ days” of the 1980’s Soviet Afghanistan war. What ever the
reasons, Turkey is about to face grave consequences for its actions.  Events flow in linear fashion, in one
direction: Turkey cannot take back what it has done, and Russia’s responses, as
well as those surely to come on top of these, have forever changed the
geopolitical game.  If that was NATO’s
goal, then perhaps it succeeded – but as a result, Moscow has been given a free
hand to act, and is now holding most of the cards.    


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