August 8 , 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Op-ed by Denis Churilov
On Wednesday, August 2, Trump signed a bill that expands economic sanctions against Russia. The sanctions that were previously voted for by the Congress to “punish the Russian Government over interference in the 2016 presidential election”. No-one bothered to provide any kind of proof that Russia did, in fact, interfere in the Election, obviously. Everyone has been trying to make an argument (a false argument) by simply appealing to authority and referring to conclusions supposedly reached by intelligence agencies, with the mainstream media manically spreading baseless anti-Russian hysteria. That’s a very similar picture to what we saw back in 2003 with the mythical Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Back then, such propaganda served to create a pretext for the US Invasion of Iraq.
Let’s now take a look at the latest sanctions bill from a wider historical and geopolitical perspective.
Ten years ago, Putin made his historic speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. In his speech, he criticised the current unipolar world order, saying, among other things, that the United States has “overstepped its national borders in every sense” by repeatedly dictating to others how they should construct their economic, political, cultural and educational policies. Putin criticised the United States for their tendency to resolve issues not according to international law, but according to immediate political expediency. Putin also criticised NATO for its military expansionism (which has been going against the 1999 Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) and slammed the the US missile program in Europe. He called for developing a multi-polar world model and asserted that Russia will always be conducting its politics independently.
The full English language transcript of that speech could be found here.
The Transatlantic/North-Atlintic elites weren’t happy about Putin making those statements. You could tell it by the reactions the Western officials gave him. As such, NATO’s then- Secretary General Japan de Hoop Scheffer called Putin’s speech “disappointing”. US senator John McCain (who was a presidential candidate) said that “Moscow must understand that it cannot enjoy a genuine partnership with the West so long as its actions at home and abroad conflict so fundamentally with age core values of Euro-Atlantic democracies” (yeah, you’re not democratic if you think differently and if you don’t do what the US dictates you to do).
Many consider Putin’s 2007 speech to be a starting point for a new Cold War. It would be reasonable to assume that the US elites started to develop complex strategies on how to undermine Russia with a mid-term goal of restricting it geopolitically, depleting it of any means for defending its national interests, and then, in the long-term, to take the country down, to slice it into a couple of smaller states that could easily be taken under control (with NATO/US putting their hands on the Russian nuclear arsenal) to solve the “Russian factor” issue once and for all.
As we know from the history of the original Cold War, such long-term planning always involves a complex combination of measures in economic, social, psychological/propaganda and conventional warfare.
They tried to prevent Putin from coming back to power in 2011-2012 by orchestrating a “liberal” regime change according to “colour revolution” techniques amid the 2012 Presidential elections. They failed back then, for two major reasons. Firstly, they couldn’t achieve much because of the abhorrent intellectual impotency of the “non-systemic” “liberal” opposition that they chose to support (those who were assigned to curate them, e. g. now former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, weren’t too bright either). And, secondly, there were some non-government political forces in Russia back then (e. g. Kurginyan’s Essence of Time movement) that understood what was going on and started playing their own game, subsequently foiling the “colour revolution” schemes.
Putin became president again in 2012, to the annoyance of the Transatlantic (and particularly American) elites.
It all worsened significantly in 2013, when Putin broke the US strategic schemes by preventing Obama from invading Syria (a quick reminder of what was happening back then: Assad was accused of gassing his own people; MIT academics and multiple independent researchers were pointing out at factual inconsistencies in the story, suggesting that it could have been a false flag attack, but the US diplomats and the mainstream media didn’t care and were actively preparing public for another war; then Russia and China stepped in, with Putin proposing a diplomatic solution according to which the Syrian government would give up all of its existing chemical weapons, so that the weapons could be disposed of under the supervision of specially formed international commission; Obama couldn’t do anything but to agree). Russia acting as a global player in the Middle East was the tipping point that enraged the Transatlantic players. That was something that they just couldn’t tolerate.
As a result, by the end of the year, in the period between November 2013 and February 2014, Russia received a blowback in the form of the Euromaidan co-up in Kiev and the subsequent Ukrainian crisis.
I’ve covered the Ukrainian crisis substantially in the past, showing its mechanics and how the Western mainstream media propagandised it in the Orwellian manner as some kind of “Russian aggression“. The analysis can be found here: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
It is noteworthy that shortly before the regime change in Kiev, in October 2013, Henry Kissinger made an offical visit to Moscow where he had talks with Putin. The exact content of the meeting remains a subject of speculations, but, given the overall political climate, it is reasonable to assume that Kissinger was offering Putin a way out of the upcoming Ukrainian crisis through giving up Russia’s stance on Syria.
One should understand Russia’s interests in Syria in order to understand the current geopolitical games played in the region. In short, Russia has two major interests in Syria: corporate-economic and security. If the Syrian government falls, the Qatari government would be able to run its gas-pipline to Europe via Syrian territory (hence they’ve been financing and arming jihadists against president Assad). That would compromise interests of the Russian government in general and interests of a Russian gas corporation Gazprom in particular, both of which make profit from selling natural gas to the EU states. Qatar is a potential competitor of Gazprom, so Russia’s both corporate and national economic interests overlap in the case of Syria.
And then there is also a vital security interest, which concerns not only the Russian corporations, but Russia as a whole, with all of its people: if jihadis succeed and the Syrian government becomes overthrown by Wahhabi militants (as it previously happened in Libya), the entire region is likely to sink into chaos, providing fruitful ground for formation of fundamentalist quasi-Caliphate, which will then spread into Caucasus and the Central Asian region, destabilising local states, from where it will be capable of waging terrorist warfare against Russia and China (Russia had enough issues with Islamists during two Chechen Wars in the 1990s, and China has been having issues with Uighur Islamic extremists in the northwest Xinjiang region for ages, so both powers have unstable regions that could be exploited by their geopolitical rivals). That, by the way, explains why both Russia and China are interested in stability in the Middle East. The US, in contrast, wants the opposite: to destabilise the Eurasian region in order to undermine competitors and remain the world’s only superpower.
So, it appears that Putin rightfully declined to submit to the ultimatum delivered by Kissinger (if they were really discussing such matters) in late-2013 and proceeded with his policies towards Syria, eventually expanding anti-terrorist cooperation with Assad by initiating a military operation involving Russian Aerospace Forces in September 2015.
So, long story short, Transatlantic elites, the US neoconservatives and other “hawks” hate Russia because they see it as a threat to their global dominance, and, thus, consistently try to undermine and destroy it.
All the strategies that involve waging economic warfare against Russia through sanctions were probably developed in detail way back in 2007, after Putin delivered his “multi-polar word” speech in Munich. Now the US elites simply seek pretexts to implement those sanctions. All the “Russian election interference”, “Russian hackers” and similar nonsense is just a formal excuse for ratifying those bills. They don’t care about ideology. They don’t care about principles, democracy, freedom or what-have-you (if they were, they wouldn’t be in bed with the Saudi Arabian regime that beheads people for “sorcery”). They just want to keep their global dominance.
But they are incapable of being world’s first by simply being the best at everything, so they choose to stay on top by bringing everyone else down. Through various methods.
The current bunch of anti-Russian sanctions targets, primarily, the energy sector, forbidding Western business to trade and cooperate with Russia in the sphere of oil mining, oil refinery and oil transporting technologies. Russian economy is highly dependent on oil and gas exports to Europe. Hitting Russia’s energy sector and compromising the Nord Stream 2 project does not only impact on Russian economy, but also damages the relations between Russian Federation and the European Union states. In that way, the United States solves three issues: 1) undermining Russia, 2) sabotaging economic and political ties between Russia and the European Union (an alliance between the two would be the US neons’ worst imaginable nightmare), and 3) forcing the EU to switch to expensive US natural resources to keep fulfilling its energy demands (enriching American oil and gas companies and strengthening the Transatlantic geopolitical framework).
It’s all about power and money. Simple as that.
Oh, and, of course, the current sanctions also serve as a tool in the US domestic political games to undermine the Trump Administration, but this aspect is too boring and insignificant to cover.