بوتين ترامب: الحلول قبل نهاية العام؟

بوتين ترامب: الحلول قبل نهاية العام؟

يوليو 13, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– يقول المبعوث الأممي في سورية ستيفان دي ميستورا إنه متفائل بعد التفاهم الروسي الأميركي بالتوصل إلى تفاهم سياسي بين الحكومة والمعارضة في سورية قبل نهاية العام، ومضمون التفاهم كما نشرت جريدة «الحياة» التي تموّلها وتشغّلها السعودية، يقوم على تسليم أميركي ببقاء الرئيس السوري. ووزير الخارجية الأميركي متفائل بخطوات متدرّجة لإنهاء الأزمة الخليجية قبل نهاية العام، والمبعوث الأممي لليمن ومثله لليبيا متفائلان بالتوصل لتفاهمات قبل نهاية العام ووزير خارجية اليابان يتوقّع التوصل لتفاهم ينهي التصعيد حول الأزمة الكورية قبل نهاية العام ومثله وزير الخارجية الألماني يتوقع نهاية الإجراءات التنفيذية للأزمة في أوكرانيا مع نهاية العام.

– المسار العسكري في سورية والعراق يقول إنّ داعش يستحيل أن يصمد في الرقة ودير الزور والأنبار حتى نهاية العام. فبعد تحرير الموصل ظهر حجم قدرة التنظيم على الصمود، ووفقاً لتسارع تساقط مواقع داعش في سورية بيد الجيش السوري تبدو نهاية العام موعداً للأبعد مدى في عمر داعش. وهذا ما يعرفه مستشارو الرئيسين دونالد ترامب وفلاديمير بوتين قبل أن تتحرّر الموصل وقبل أن يجتمع الرئيسان، ليصير البحث بين الرئيسين مخصصاً لما بعد داعش وليس لكيفية القضاء على التنظيم، وكيف لا يتسبّب ما بعد داعش بتضارب المصالح. وفي الحسابات الأميركية لتضارب المصالح أولوية اسمها أمن «إسرائيل» تسبق أولوية البعض في أميركا حول حملة التصعيد لاتهام روسيا بالتدخل في الانتخابات وفوق الحسابات الأصغر التي تتمثل بالسعي لتقييد سلطات ترامب أو السعي لإسقاطه بهذه التهمة.

– حمل الرئيس بوتين الوصفة السحرية لترامب وقوامها، حيث يدخل الجيش السوري فاتحاً ومحرراً سيدخل معه حزب الله، وحيث تريدون ألا يكون حزب الله سلّموا طوعاً للجيش السوري، فحيث يدخل حزب الله لا يخرج ولا يمكن إخراجه، فإن كانت الحدود الجنوبية لسورية تعنيكم فسارعوا لتسليمها طوعاً للجيش السوري وإلا سيدخلها مقاتلاً ومعه حزب الله، وعندها لن يكون ممكناً الاشتراط لأيّ حلّ أن يخرج حزب الله، وهكذا بعبارات بوتين حقّق حزب الله ما يريد، أن يقبل الأميركيون بمشروعه الذي دخل الحرب السورية لفرضه، وهو سورية برئيسها وجيشها إطار لأيّ حلّ، وإلا فالحربُ بيننا.

– سائر الملفات عند الأميركيين تلتزم بالروزنامة التي يحرّكها ردّ الخطر الأكبر عن «إسرائيل» بالخطر الأصغر، كوريا وأوكرانيا عهدة روسية وسوق الغاز الروسية وعنوانها أزمة قطر وتسليم المعارضة السورية بحلّ في ظلّ الرئيس بشار الأسد. كلها ملفات يمكن تطويعها للروزنامة المتصلة بتخفيض حجم الخطر عن «إسرائيل»، فيصير موعد نهاية العام موعداً صنعته الحرب في سورية، حيث حزب الله سند للجيش السوري يتقدّمان معاً على حساب داعش ويقتربان من إنهائه في دير الزور قبل نهاية العام، وروسيا تدرك ما تستطيع وما تريد، وتدرك أنّ نهاية العام موعد مناسب لنهاية الأزمات إذا خَلُصت النيات، وتوفّرت الإرادات.

– تثبيت درع الحلول لحساب الرئيس السوري علامة على نصره، لأنه الصامد والمنتصر والبطل الذي لا نظير له، رسم لحلفائه خريطة الطريق، ولشعبه طرق النصر، وحسم بإرادته نهاية الحروب، فصار عنواناً لكلّ الحلول، كما كان العنوان لكلّ الحروب.

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PeakProsperity interviews The Saker (podcast)

July 11, 2017

HOW RUSSIA SHOULD DEAL WITH THE “PILBAN SYNDROME”

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at his blog


How Russia should deal with the “Pilban Syndrome” (PBS)

A reader, SunriseState, has recently posted the following question in the comments section: “what would you say is the most optimal Russian strategy vs Poland?“.  When I read it I thought “now that is an interesting question indeed!”.  Today I will try to answer it, going step by step.

First, a diagnosis.

Saker drawing from communityThere is a Polish syndrome.  We can ascribe all sorts of causes for it, some will describe the Poles look as heroic victims, others as greedy hyenas, but for our purposes we don’t even need to dwell into history to list a series of symptoms which, when taken together, we could call the “Polish Syndrome”:

  1. Phobia (hatred and fear) for Russia and everything Russian.
  2. A strong desire to be “part of the West” (as opposed to an imaginary “despotic Asia”) while in reality having little or nothing in common with the said “West”
  3. A deep and bitter resentment at having been militarily defeated over and over again and a subsequent hope for a grandiose revanche.
  4. A deep seated inferiority complex towards both the East and the West as lyrically expressed in the Ukrainian slogan “let us drown the Poles in Russian and Jewish blood!“.
  5. A dream of finally submitting the Orthodox Church to the Papacy (or, in its latest iteration, to “consecrate Russia to the immaculate heart of Mary“)
  6. A deep insecurity about itself resulting in a neverending policy of finding external allies, including Hitler, to take on the “big guy”.
  7. A willingness to say anything and do anything to get the external ally to extend protection, threaten Russia or, even better, participate in a long-awaited “march on Moscow”.

Again, whether this is a result of centuries of Russian oppression, imperialism, violence and persecutions or the result of the Papist ideology makes absolutely no difference for our purposes.

Also, when we look at the various symptoms of our “Polish Syndrome” we immediately see that it is not unique to Poles or Poland – the Ukrainians, especially the western Ukrainians, display all the same characteristics as their Polish neighbors (as do the Balts, but they are too small, weak and irrelevant to be included here).  The syndrome we are looking at is therefore not really a “Polish” one, but an East European one, but calling it “East European” would also be incorrect.  So, for our purposes, I will simplify and call it the “Pilban Syndrome” (PBS) in honor of the two “great heroes” of the Polish and West Ukrainian nationalists: Jozef Pilsudski and Stepan Bandera.

Second, a prognosis

Friends, the Pilban Syndrome is here to stay.  For one thing, we are dealing with a syndrome with deep historical roots.  Second, years of Communist rule followed by a sudden collapse of the Soviet Empire gave this syndrome a huge boost. Third, the AngloZionist Empire, especially in its current position of rapid decline, will allocate a great deal of resources to keep the PBS alive and well.  Finally, the abject failure of the AngloZionist policies in the Ukraine and the subsequent civil war will probably lead to a break-up of the Ukraine, in one form or another, and that will also greatly contribute to the vitality of the PBS.  I would also add that while right now Poland is enjoying a much hoped for “minute of fame” (being useful to the Empire against Russia) this pipe dream will also come crashing down sooner rather than later, and that inevitable collapse with also result in a sharp rise of the PBS.  Bottom line is this: the PBS is here to stay and Russians would be naive in the extreme to hope that it will just vanish.

Third, a warning

There is nothing, absolutely nothing which the Russians could do to try to minimize the severity of the PBS.  It is absolutely crucial to understand that the PBS is deeply ideological in its nature and causes.  To think that some kind of action (short of collective national suicide, of course) would appease those suffering from PBS is delusional.  The Ukrainian case, in particular, will show that even if Russians give them loans, credits, favorable trade terms, security guarantees, etc. the Ukrainian nationalists will see that as a devious plan to try to entrap or otherwise deceive the Ukrainians.  If tomorrow the Kremlin decided to send truckloads of gold to the Ukraine or Poland, they would accept it, of course, but as soon as the last truck crossed the border the Polish and Ukrainian nationalists would resume their usual mantras about “Poland/the Ukraine not perishing yet” (they both have these paranoid words in their essentially similar national anthems) along with their usual policies.

Fourth, the big question

The big question is this: how do you deal with such hate-filled lunatics when they are your neighbors?  From a Russian point of view, these neighbors are constantly shifting their position on a spectrum roughly ranging between “minor pain in the ass” to “existential threat”, so this is nothing trivial.  If history has taught the Russians anything is that every single time Russia was weak the Poles invaded.  Every time.  The Ukrainian case is very different, since there never was any “Ukrainian state” in history.  However, since the Ukrainian nationalists display exactly the same PBS symptoms as their Polish brothers, we can assume that they too will wait for Russia to be weak (for whatever reason) to attack; in fact, the current *official* statements of the leaders of the Nazi junta in Kiev more or less promise to do exactly that).  Russia has tried all sorts of strategies with Poland, ranging from outright partitioning, to the granting of special rights, to a naive hope that a common stance against Nazi Germany would yield some degree of, if not brotherhood, then at least civil neighborly relations.  They all failed.  Clearly, a new approach is needed.

Fifth, the obvious solution

Okay so we have established that the PBS is incurable, that it is here to stay, that the Russians cannot meaningfully affect it and that past policies have all failed.  So what does that leave?  It leaves one obvious solution:

Do nothing.  Have no policy.  Give up.  Ignore them.  Bypass them.

The first principle of medicine is “above all do no harm”.  I will argue here that any Russian policy towards PBS suffering states will do harm and only make things worse.  However, doing absolutely nothing will yield huge advantages for Russia.  Think of it.  Doing nothing

  1. Gives the Polish and Ukrainian nationalists the least excuses to focus on an imaginary external threat and forces them to have to look inside, at their own internal problems.  Considering that we are dealing hate-filled ideologues and deluded politicians, they will all turn on each other like rats in a cage.
  2. Makes it possible for Russia to combine a pragmatically efficient stance with a morally correct one: no matter how hate filled and delusional Polish and Ukrainian nationalists are, it is not for Russians to judge them, educate them or otherwise deny them their freedom to live in whatever manner they choose to.  Let them build the society they want, let them keep on barking at Russia like a small dog would do behind the “NATO fence”, and let them pursue their “western dream” to their heart’s content.
  3. Makes it possible for Russia to allocate much needed resources where it matters, where Russian money, sweat and blood can yield a real return on investment.  Ignoring the PBS-states will initially cost Russia some money, true, but in the mid-to-long term it will save Russian billions of Rubles.

However, when I say “do nothing” I refer only to policies which actually involve expectations that if Russia does “X” the Polish or Ukrainian nationalists will do “Y”.  An example such mistaken policies would be to expect the Poles to buy Russian LNG gas if Russia offers better prices.  It ain’t gonna happen – give it up, Vlad!

What Russia must do, as a condition of the “do nothing” policy, is to craft a new policy towards PBS states composed exclusively of unilateral actions.  What do I mean by that?

First, Russia must secure her own security in military, economic and political terms.  Russians must look at PBS states the way the Dutch look at the North Sea: they know that if their dams break, the waters of the North Sea will immediately break and submerge a large part of the Dutch territory.  Dutch flood control never assumes that the waters of the North Sea will act differently, that somehow they could be convinced to not flood.  No, for the Dutch it is simple to the extreme: if our levees break, the North Sea will flood us.  And, here is the key, the Dutch don’t resent the North Sea for that.  Same for Russians: they should not resent the Polish or Ukrainian nationalists, they just need to make darn sure that the Russian levees (the Russian armed forces) don’t break, that’s all.

Second, Russia must completely de-couple her economy from any PBS state.  Yes, this is also what the nationalists want.  So let’s give it to them!  Let’s bring the Russian trade and investment into PBS states to exactly zero.  Modern technologies make it very simple to bypass these countries and the North Stream is the best proof that Russia and Germany can do business together without involving the crazies between them.  To those who would say that this sounds extreme, I would reply that if Russia had not allowed Polish Air Force Tu-154 to fly to Smolensk all the crazy shit we witness today would not have happened. Why interact with somebody who will always blame you for everything?  This makes no sense.  I would even withdraw Russian representations from these countries and kick their diplomats out of Russia (have the Swiss to be the representatives, like the USA with Iran or Cuba).  Why?  Because if tomorrow the Polish ambassador to Moscow is killed while crossing at a dangerous intersection or slips in his bath tub, the Poles will immediately declare that the “KGB” (does not exist since 1991 but nevermind that) has killed him.  Who needs this kind of crap?  Nobody I think.  So I say decouple everything which can possibly be de-coupled, give the nationalists their dream and let Russia enjoy some much needed peace and quiet on her western borders.

Third, keep non-governmental ties open.  Cultural ties, small business kind of trade, tourism, etc.  There is no need to build any walls (besides, the Ukrainians and Latvians are already doing that, if not very effectively), or be nasty in any way to the regular Poles or Ukrainians.  If on the government level Russia should always maintain a “thanks, but we are not interested” stance, on the human level Russia should remain open and welcoming to the Polish and Ukrainian people.  The truth is that there are still some mentally sane Poles and Ukrainians who clearly see through the ideological nonsense of their leaders and who far from being russophobic often have a real appreciation for things Russian.  Why make them pay for the behavior of their leaders?  Russia would be much better off trying to do her utmost to make these people feel welcome in Russia and to show that her stance towards the PBS infected nationalists does not extend to mentally sane people.  However, Russia also needs to stop pretending that all is well and for that she needs to officially declare that henceforth her policy towards PBS-regimes will be no policy at all.

Conclusion

I think that what I am suggesting is simple, straightforward, cheap, safe, morally correct and eminently doable.  Yes, of course, to some degree this will be undiplomatic since it will require to officially acknowledge that Russia does not want to deal with PBS-infected regimes at all.  Since I am not a diplomat (thank God!) I can say something here which Russian diplomats really cannot: most Russian feel a deep sense of disgust and contempt for the Polish and Ukrainian nationalists and it is high time that Russian diplomat and decision makers stop pretending otherwise.

For centuries the Russian leaders have always looked at the West as the most important strategic direction and that is understandable as objective geographic and economic factors of that time made the West far more important than the South or the East (and nevermind the North).  But this is changing right now, very rapidly.  In truth, both the EU and the US are increasingly becoming irrelevant to Russia whose future is in the South, the East and even the North.  The good news is that Putin and his key ministers all see this (and this is why, unlike what we saw in the West, for Russia the big events of the G20 was Putin’s meeting with Xi).  Central Asia, the Middle-East, the Indian sub-continent, China, Siberia and the Arctic – these are the regions were the future of Russia will be decided and where Russian is investing most of her human and material resources.  One thing the Ukrainian nationalists are absolutely correct about: while geographically located in what is considered “Europe” the Russian nation (as opposed to the Russian ruling elites) is much closer to her neighbors in the South and East than to the so-called “West”.  It is high time for the Russian people to return to their real, historical, home: the immense Eurasian landmass.

If we look at the internal components of the AngloZionist Empire, then we can see that for Russia the USA will continue to matter the most, then the European Union, but already much less, and then the PBS-states which are basically irrelevant to Russia.  Russia can therefore *easily* afford to comprehensively ignore the PBS-states as long as she keeps her military strong enough to deal with any possible attack or military provocation coming from the West (which the Russian military can easily do).

One more thing: it is a sad reality that the USA are becoming more and more PBS-infected, courtesy of the Neocons and their visceral russophobia (UN Nikki has just declared ““we can’t trust Russia and we won’t ever trust Russia.”).  Clearly, the USA is no Poland and Russia cannot afford to simply ignore them.  But as long as this is done carefully, progressively and, above all, quietly, Russia can, and should, begin decoupling herself not only from the USA as such, but from the entire US-controlled international financial system moving her assets and investments towards the obvious alternative: China and the rest of the Eurasian landmass.

In conclusion, I will say that what I outline above is what I think is already happening before your eyes.  Not as much as I wish, not as fast as I wish, but it is happening, the fastest with the Ukraine, the slowest with the USA.  But it is happening.  And thank God for that!

The Saker

IMPORTANT NOTE: When I speak of the Ukraine, I am referring only to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine, not Novorussia or Crimea. Those I consider as Russian people and land.

Putin-Trump Meeting: Good Start to Pave the Way for Further Progress

Putin-Trump Meeting: Good Start to Pave the Way for Further Progress

EDITORIAL | 10.07.2017 | EDITORIAL

Putin-Trump Meeting: Good Start to Pave the Way for Further Progress

Much has already been said about the impatiently anticipated and closely watched first face-to-face meeting between the Russian and US presidents on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Everything happens for the first time. Never in the 74-year-long history of bilateral meetings have leaders of the two powers made personal acquaintance during a major international event, not a summit or a USSR-Western leading powers top level conference. No Russia-US meeting had been that short and held in such a format.

Despite the fact that the diplomatic relations were established in 1807, the first time a Soviet and US leader met each other was at the 1943 Tehran conference. Back then, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Joseph Stalin established the relationship of trust. If FDR had not died in April, 1945, after meeting Stalin for the second time at the Yalta conference, history could have been different. Perhaps, the war in Korea and many other things could have been averted.

Nikita Khruschev and John F. Kennedy hit it off during the Vienna summit in 1961. The following events – the Berlin Wall and Cuban crises – prevented the ties from becoming a blossoming relationship. There was a chance that personal chemistry between Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon would result in positive changes but the latter had to go. Like Donald Trump, he was known as «an independent president» immune to outside influence.

Personal chemistry was an important factor during the Reagan-Gorbachev meetings which resulted in milestone agreements. In the case of Putin-Trump dialogue, it is one of the most determining factors to promote the bilateral relations and it works.

Now is the time to highlight the major points. The event ran for more than two hours, far longer than the 30 minutes it had been scheduled for, with only translators and the respective chief diplomats – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – joining the heads of state. Much effort had been applied to prepare the talks. It had been not known if the meeting would take place at all till the last moment. Those in Washington, who are ready to go to any length to stymie progress in the relations, did it again. US Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him not to return the Russian diplomatic compounds seized last year by then President Obama following the alleged Russia’s interference in the US presidential election.

They failed to sway President Trump on Russian policy. The meeting went according to quiet a different scenario. No doubt, the fact that it lasted so long will be used against Trump by his opponents. The US president knew it well but stood tall. The compounds issue was discussed in Hamburg despite the senators’ appeal.

Not many details are known about what the presidents talked about but there are deliverables. The parties reached a ceasefire and “de-escalation agreement” in southwestern Syria which is in effect since July 9. The agreement includes Jordan and Israel. It means the respective governments had been consulted before the event. The reduction in hostilities enables the renewal of political dialogue on Syria.

The parties agreed to establish a special channel of communications to address the problem of Ukraine. On the day of the meeting it was announced that State Secretary Rex Tillerson had appointed Kurt Volker, a former US ambassador to NATO, as special representative to Ukraine to advance the efforts aimed at achieving the objectives set out in the Minsk agreements. So, the United States has become a party to join the peace effort.

Moscow and Washington will hold further discussions on a framework for dealing with a wide array of cyber threats. Cooperation on cybersecurity is a relatively new issue, and probably has never been among the most prioritized. The parties have rather different approaches to the problem: Russia gives priority to «international information security», whereas the US prefers the term «cybersecurity» with a focus on the protection of computer networks and resources. It’s very important that dialogue on the burning issue will be launched.

There was a host of other issues on the agenda. The details will become known as time goes by. The issue of embassy compounds is likely to become a kind of relationship matrix.

Definitely, the meeting is a success, especially in view of unprecedented attacks against President Trump at home. The leaders did not limit to a simple exchange of pleasantries and cordial handshakes, they talked shop. It’s not known how much attention was given to arms control, non-proliferation and military activities. The growing possibility of incidents in the Baltic Sea, especially during military exercises, is a very worrisome development but it’s not the only one. The list of hot issues to be addressed is too long.

But against all the odds, it was a robust and lengthy exchange of opinions on the most acute problems – a very good start on the way out of the impasse. The Hamburg event can jumpstart the general normalization of the bilateral relations. Evidently, the Putin-Trump meeting in Hamburg is a success and a significant step forward. The two leaders did it to pave the way to further progress.

G20 Summit: Putin and Trump [in deja vu “House of Cards” moment] discussed crisis in Syria and fighting terrorism, agree to create bilateral channel to promote Ukraine settlement

(RT News 7/7/2017) ~ The moment before Russian president Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump locked palms has been compared to a scene from the popular political drama ‘House of Cards.’

Donald Trump’s ascend to the White House has often been compared to something out of fiction.

But on Friday at the G20 Summit, Trump’s meeting with Putin in front of the cameras took on the uncanny resemblance of a scene from a Netflix series.

The two leaders are in Hamburg as part of a meeting between international leaders to discuss pressing global issues such as Syria, climate change, global finance, migration and terrorism.

The G20 summit has already yielded two handshakes between Putin and Trump, with the second official greeting garnering the most interest due to its resemblance to a scene in chapter 29 of the ‘House of Cards.’

In the 2015 episode, the fictionalized US President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and President of the Russian Federation Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen) are at loggerheads over a European missile defense system.

But there doesn’t appear to have been the same animosity in real-life, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the pair had “positive chemistry”.

However, Putin did appear to look down on Trump’s open hand gesture just before shaking it.

Putin & Trump agree to create bilateral channel to promote Ukraine settlement – Lavrov

(RT News 7/7/2017) ~ A special channel between the Russian and American presidents will be established to further push for a settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov has announced following the Putin-Trump meeting.

Additional efforts will be made “to support” the Minsk peace agreements and the work of the existing contact group on Ukraine, Russia’s chief diplomat said.

While discussing Ukraine, the American side informed us that they had appointed a special representative to assist the efforts on settling the Ukrainian crisis.

Arrangements have been made to create a channel between presidents of Russia and US to use this opportunity that Washington has, to further advance the settlement based on the Minsk agreements and considering the potential established in the contact group and the Normandy format,” Lavrov told reporters during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Moscow hopes to soon meet the US representative “for consultations,” he added.

Saying that “everyone is interested” in fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, to which Kiev “is the main part,” Lavrov said Moscow “senses that its Western partners very much understand the necessity of additional influence” on the peace process which so far has been delayed.

Citing his “long” talks with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier in the day, as well as a Thursday meeting with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, Lavrov said everyone agrees the crisis needs to be settled within the framework of the Minsk agreements.

I have a feeling that it has been confirmed that both the Russian and American presidents are driven by their national interests, which they see primarily in looking for mutually beneficial agreements rather than by trying to play out some confrontational scenarios.

Lavrov added that the Ukrainian issue had been discussed “in a concrete, businesslike” manner.

Putin, Trump discussed crisis in Syria and fighting terrorism

(Hamburg, 7/7/2017, SANA) ~ Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with US President Donald Trump the crisis in Syria and counter-terrorism on the sideline of the G20 Summit currently being held in Hamburg, Germany.

During a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Putin said that he and Trump talked at length about a large number of issues, which included the crisis in Syria and fighting terrorism.

At the beginning of his meeting with Trump, Putin said that phone calls alone aren’t sufficient to resolve issues and meeting in person is necessary.

In the same context, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a press conference after the aforementioned meeting that Russian, American, and Jordanian experts reached an agreement on a memo of understanding for establishing a de-escalation zone in Daraa, Quneitra, and Sweida, and that a ceasefire will begin in these areas as of July 9th at noon.

Lavrov said that there’s confirmation to the US and Jordan’s commitment to the unity and integrity of Syrian territory, adding that Russian military police will preserve security around de-escalation zones.

He also said that the how de-escalation zones in Homs and al-Ghouta will look in was also discussed during the Astana meetings, and talks about a similar zone in the north are still ongoing.


SOURCES:
RT News 7/7/2017
RT News 7/7/2017
Hamburg, 7/7/2017, SANA
Submitted by SyrianPatriots, Lone Bear
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/g20-putin-trump/
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TheSaker: I sure hope that I am wrong, but…

TheSaker: I sure hope that I am wrong, but…

03.07.2017

Written by TheSaker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

The talk of the week is the upcoming meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 conference this Friday.  There have been some very good articles already written on this topic, I particularly recommend Adam Garrie’s “5 obstacles Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will have to address in their meeting” for The Duran and Israel Shamir’s “What Would Putin Tell Trump?” for The Unz Review.  It is undeniable that the fact that these two men will finally meet is an event of immense significance and importance for the future not only of US-Russian relations, but even for the future or mankind.

Or is it?

I have to be honest here and say that my expectations are pretty close to zero.  Oh sure, they will smile, probably a lot, and some minor issues, such as the seizure of the Russian diplomatic residence in the USA, will be resolved.  Probably.  There might even be some kind of positive sounding sounds about “reaffirming the Minsk Agreement” or “fighting ISIS in Syria”, but compared to long list of truly vital issues which need to be urgently discussed and resolved, this will, I am afraid, be as close to nothing as it can get.  Why do I say that?

First, we should all stop kidding ourselves, Russia and the USA do not have “disagreements”.  The sad and frightening reality is that we are now closer to war than during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Not only are Russian and US servicemen now deployed in the same war zone (the Americans totally illegally), but unlike what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis we have a US President who terminally lacks the willpower to deal with the crazies on the US side, I am talking about the Neocons, of course.  In fact, under Kennedy there were no real Neocons to tackle to begin with.  Now they are running the White House while Trump serves them coffee or watches TV in another room (I am jocking of course, but just barely).  In this context, to meet on the “sidelines” of a G20 conference is bordering on the criminally irresponsible.  What the world would need is for Trump and Putin to meet in a “Camp David” like format for at least 3-5 days with all their key advisors and officials.  Even if we assume a 100% of good will on both sides, meeting on the “sidelines” of an already big conference just won’t make it possible to get anything done.  In the very best of cases Lavrov and Tillerson could have done most of the hard work away from the public eye, but the truth is that the Russians say that so far the two sides have not even agreed upon an agenda.

Second, it is absolutely clear that the US Ziomedia and Congress will declare any, any, positive outcome from the meeting as “Trump caved in to Putin” and try to get a pound of political flesh out of Trump for it.  So for Trump any external success will mean an internal disaster.  And we already know that the man does not have what it takes to deal with such attacks.  Frankly, his only “tactic”, so to speak, to deal with the Neocons has been to try to appease them.  So short of Trump asking for political asylum in Russia and joining Snowden somewhere in Russia, I don’t see him ever taking any independent action.

Third, if we look at the people around Trump it is pretty clear that the only intelligent and rational person in the White House is Rex Tillerson.  The rest of them are lunatics, maniacs and imbeciles – the current US, what shall I call it, “actions” (can’t call it a “policy”) towards Syria clearly prove that the Executive Branch is completely out of control.  We now can clearly see that Mattis and McMaster are not these military geniuses presented to us by the Ziomedia but that, in fact, they are both phenomenally incompetent and that their views of the conflicts in Syria and even Afghanistan can only be characterized as totally lacking anything remotely resembling any kind of vision. Yet these two “geniuses” seem to be in charge.  For all his intelligence, Tillerson can’t even reign in this Nikki idiot at the United Nations.  We should stop kidding ourselves and stop pretending like there is anybody to talk to for the Russians.  At best, they are dealing with a Kindergarten.  At worst, they are dealing with an evil Kindergarten.  But either way, there is nobody to talk to on the US side, much less so somebody to begin solving the many issues which need solving.

I will admit that I did have high hopes for Trump and his apparent willingness to sit down and have an adult conversation with Russians.  I was especially inspired by Trump’s repeated rejection of the Ziomedia’s narrative about Russia and by what appeared to me as his “no nonsense” approach towards getting things done.  I wrote many articles for this blog saying that having hopes (not expectations!) for Trump was the right thing to do.  And, frankly, I think that at the time it was.  Last Fall I even wrote an entire chapter on this topic in the book “If I were King: Advice for President Trump“.   The big difference is that before his election we could only judge Trump by his words.  Now, however, we can judge him by his words and his actions and the latter show us a consistent pattern of supine subservience to the Neocons and their demands, from the betrayal of his friend and key advisor Flynn, to the recent threats to bomb Syria for, allegedly, “preparing” to use chemical munitions against civilians.

This might be his, shall we call it, “Las Vegas culture” – but Trump is all about form over substance and appearance over facts.  Just look at his frankly pathetic threats (with no less than 3 aircraft carrier strike groups!) against the DPRK or his half-assed missile strike on the Syrian airbase: it’s all a big show, nothing more.  No wonder the man likes “tweeting” – he seems to think in 140 character long “thought clusters”…

None of that would be too bad if the USA, and the West generally, had a halfway decent media and a Legislative Branch worthy of its name.  In theory, these could raise hell and demand that the President either resign or begin doing his job.  But, of course, they don’t and they won’t.  They hate Trump, of course, but they also own him.  He can make fun of them in “tweets” on his free time, but in terms of his policies he does exactly what they want.  And the very last thing they want is any kind of “detente” with Russia.  At most, they will impeach Trump just to humiliate him, but that’s about it.  They don’t even need to play their “Pence” card – Trump is what is colloquially known in US ghettos as their “punk-ass bitch”.

Ever since the ill-fated “GWOT” more or less petered out, Russia has become the indispensable bogeyman to terrify the public and justify multi-billion dollar corruption schemes.  Not only that, but a “resurgent Russia” is the cornerstone justification of the AngloZionist paranoia about a need to spend more on the war state, the police state and, of course, on corporate greed.  The powers that be are even re-heating old, Cold War era, scaring techniques:

The Defense Intelligence Agency has recently released a “Russian Military Power 2017” report. Since it is pretty well written, I actually recommend that you download and read it: it is a mix of pretty good information about the Russian Armed Forces and the garden variety nonsense about Russian hackers and their cyber-threat to US and its allies.  Just set aside the clearly politically-induced nonsense and you are left with a rather well made summary of what the Russian Armed Forces are up to these days.

I have to thank the DIA for this report: it made me feel young again, like I was in the 1980s when all the student of warfare and of the Soviet military were reading these annual “Soviet Military Power” reports with great interest.  But other than making some of us feel young, the real purpose of this document is clear and it is the very same one behind the Cold War era “Soviet Military Power” series: to justify an increase in “defense” (i.e. “aggression”) spending by showing how scary these evil Commies/Russikies were/are.

This would all be rather funny, and nostalgic in a way, if it did not show the total lack of imagination of the folks at the Pentagon.  Far from coming up with anything novel or interesting, they are bringing back into service stuff which for years had been collecting dust in the memories of now mostly retired Cold Warriors.  It is rather pathetic, really.

Over the past 30 years or so, Russia went from being the Soviet Union, to being a Somalia-like “democratic hell” during the 1990s, to becoming a completely new entity – a “New Russia” which is dramatically different from the Soviet Union of the 1980s. 

In contrast, the USA got completely stuck in its old patterns, except for this time they are “the same, but even worse”.  If the USA did not have nukes that would almost be okay (after all, the world can let “Uncle Sam” slowly lose his sclerotic brain, who cares?) but when a nuclear superpower is acting like an out-of-control rogue state, this is very, very, scary.

So back to our G20 meeting again.  The first thing which needs to be said is that Trump is weak, extremely weak: he goes in with the Ziomedia and Congress hating him and with a basically treacherous White House team clearly controlled by Pence, Kushner and the rest of the Neocon crazies.  To make things worse, Trump can offer the Russians absolutely nothing they would want or need.

Please don’t buy this sanctions canard.  The damage these sanctions could do they have already done.  The simple truth is that Russia has already survived the sanctions and come out even stronger, this is confirmed by international organizations and by the private sector. In fact, removing the sanctions right now would hurt the Russian economy far more, especially the agricultural sector, which has greatly benefited from the de-facto protectionist protection provided to the Russian economy by these sanctions.  Likewise, the Russian defense industry has successfully adapted to the total severance by the Ukronazi regime of all the defense contracts with Russia and now 100% Russian military systems and parts are being produced in Russia at a cheaper price and of a higher quality.  Besides, since Congress and UN Nikki have made it pretty darn clear that sanctions will remain in place until Russia agrees to return Crimea to the Ukraine, nothing will change until the current Ukraine finally breaks into three of four parts.

Trump could, in theory, offer the Russians to stop sabotaging the peace process in Syria and the Russians would surely welcome that.  But since the US policy of illegal air and missile strikes combined with a deployment of US forces on the ground in Syria is failing anyway, see here and here, the Russians are going to get what they want whether the US wants it or not.

As for the Ukraine, the situation there is so bad that an increasing number of specialists are saying that even the US has lost control of Banderastan and that now it’s going to be all about intra-Ukie power plays: the social, political, military, cultural and economic disaster has reach what I would call an “escape velocity” when the various processes taking place are basically chaotic, unpredictable and unmanageable.  I am personally very dubious that the Americans would have anything to offer the Russians.

How about the other way around?  What could the Russians offer Trump?

Again, I am afraid that nothing much either.

Russian foreign policies are all centered around the development of a multi-polar world and Putin is now extremely busy dealing with some seriously important matters.  So what can Putin offer Trump?  A promise not to invade Lithuania?  Trump knows that there never was any such threat to begin with.  It’s not like Putin can agree to pretend not to see the constant inflow of NATO forces and equipment into eastern Europe as the latter constitute a serious threat to the Russian national security.  Could the Russian promise that they won’t fly over the Baltic without their transponders on?  Hardly, since the first ones to switch off their transponders were the Americans.  What about a Russian promise not to intercept Secretary of Defense Mattis’ civilian transport aircraft over international waters?  But wait – that was the other way around, it’s NATO (a Polish F-16 actually) which intercepted Shoigu’s aircraft over the Baltic Sea during a long announced and official trip from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad (and who then ran away as soon as a Russian SU-27 showed the missiles it was carrying under it’s wings which by convention means “get the hell out of here or I shoot you down“), so its not the Russians, but the American who need to reign in their yapping poodle.

[Sidebar: I have never been a big admirer of Polish politicians, but now Poland is reaching truly historical lows in terms of cowardice, dishonor and plain stupidity; from their “war on statues“, to their idiotic accusation that the Russian ATC deliverately crashed an official Polish aircraft ( resulting form their categorical inability to accept that their own politicians gave a stupid order to their pilots) to Prime Minister Kazinsky’s war on “cyclists and vegetarians“, to the resurrection of the extremely dangerous “Three Seas” plan – Poland is constantly up to the no good and self-deafeningly stupid.  But then, what are we to expect from a country which considers a character like Pilsudksi as a national hero?  Sadly, Poland is repeating its worst historical mistake: the one of constantly trying to trigger a conflict between the West and Russia (apparently, history has taught them nothing).  So now, the tiny Polish poodle is barking at the Russian Bear convinced that Uncle Sam and the West will protect him if the bear comes down charging.  Truly, human stupidity is limitless].

I think I can guess what the Americans want: a partition of Syria, if not de jure then de factoI don’t think that this will work.  For one thing, the Americans are (yet again) overlooking the fact that the main actor in Syria is not Russia but Iran and Iran has no reason whatsoever to agree to any such partition.  Neither do the Russians, of course.  The only ones truly interested in a partition of Syria are,who else, the Israelis and since they are now back in charge of the White House, they are the ones pushing for this “solution”.  But that is something Turkey and Iran cannot accept as this would not only create a “Wahabistan” in eastern Syria, but also some kind of Kurdistan in the north – hardly a recipe for peace.  And, finally, let’s not forget the Syrians themselves.  They perfectly understand that any partition of their homeland would leave them squeezed between Israel in the southwest and some kind of crazy Daesh pretend-caliphate in the northeast – why would they ever accept such a rotten and, not to mention, unsustainable deal?

For the Americans, of course, it’s the other way around: since they could not get the black flag of Daesh to fly over Damascus they see the partition of Syria as the only acceptable outcome.  They will therefore oppose any peace process, especially one crafted by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with every ugly trick in their bag.

So, will the upcoming meeting yield nothing, nothing at all?

It will yield the fact that the two leaders spoke to each other, face to face.  That is not unimportant.  I also have some hopes for some type of ‘deconfliction’ agreements between Russia and the US/NATO (switch they bloody transponders on again!).  If we can get resumption of some kind of talks between NATO and Russia it would also be a good thing, even if nothing much concrete is achieved by this.  I suspect that Trump would love the ditch the Ukraine, but he can’t do that on political reasons.  If the Russians can con the Americans to endorse, even just verbally, the Astana talks on Syria that would be good because it would make it marginally harder for the Pentagon and/or the CIA to engage in false flag chemical attacks or any other such nonsense.  Am I missing something?  Yeah, probably some kind of  “cultural exchanges” (that’s when diplomats are truly desperate and have nothing else to offer) or a common plan to protect polar bears (thank God for small things all the same!).

The Russians will probably try to get Trump into agreeing to some kind of new UN Resolution on Syria, but since we all know that the USA disregards UN resolutions anyway, it won’t be much of a victory, even if it will feel good for a while.

I hope I am wrong, really wrong, totally wrong even.  I will be watching the (hopefully joint) press conference of Trump and Putin on Friday with a tiny leftover and paradoxical spark of hope that maybe, just maybe, Trump has something good left inside him.  But I won’t be holding my breath.  They say that hope dies last.  Maybe.  I will find out on Friday.

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 02.07.2017 | OPINION

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

The forthcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit has got to be the most anticipated political moment of the year. The handshake, smiles, body language and words will all be scrutinized to parse significance in the encounter between the leaders of the world’s two superpowers.

Sections of the American media will no doubt be looking for secret signals between «agent Trump» and the former «KGB spy Putin» to confirm their suspicions it was the Kremlin that orchestrated the US presidential election to get Trump into the White House. That spy-thriller narrative has been running non-stop in prominent US news outlets – and yet six months after Trump’s inauguration not even a single bit of hard evidence has emerged to support the allegations of collusion. It’s a spy fantasy that has taken on a life of its own, which even the CNN channel – one of the biggest purveyors of the Trump-Russia trope – has recently been caught out disclosing quietly that it’s a «nothing burger».

Nonetheless, on a more serious level, the meeting between Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit next weekend will have a «moment of truth» quality. It’s their first encounter, although the two leaders have held at least two phone conversations in the past six months.

Confirming that the Trump-Putin one-on-one is scheduled during the Hamburg summit, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that the meeting will «clarify» the state of bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow.

«We expect the Hamburg meeting between our presidents to clarify the prospects for Russian-US cooperation», said Lavrov speaking in Moscow last Friday at the Primakov Readings conference.

The tone of anticipation in Moscow is understandable. As Lavrov pointed out, the relation between the US and Russia is critical for addressing a wide range of pressing global issues. Yet, as he noted, that relation has been distorted into an «abnormal» state because it is «held hostage by domestic political struggles in the US».

When Trump was campaigning for the presidency, he pitched himself as being a leader who would return US-Russia relations to a new normal of friendly cooperation. This contrasted with his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton who was vowing to take a tough confrontational line on Moscow over international issues like Ukraine and Syria. It is a fair assumption that Trump won the election partly because the American electorate preferred his ticket of restoring relations with Russia. After decades of reckless overseas wars, the American voters did not want more of Clinton’s jingoistic posturing.

However, since Trump entered the White House, the promised normalization of US-Russia relations has not materialized. Indeed, with the imposition of new rounds of economic sanctions by Washington and the stepped-up US military intervention in Syria, one could say that relations have deteriorated even further.

Both sides acknowledge that relations between the world’s two largest nuclear powers have sunk to a worrying level. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov openly stated the deplorable situation during their first bilateral meeting in Moscow earlier this year in April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently said in an interview with American film director Oliver Stone that there has been no discernible improvement in bilateral relations between the US and Russia since Trump became president.

This is in spite of the fact that both the White House and the Kremlin have expressed a desire to seek better relations.

Of course, much of US policy towards Russia is out of Trump’s control. The hawkish Republican and Democrat dominated Congress is pushing through more hostile anti-Russia sanctions independent of Trump’s personal views. The latest bill on increasing sanctions has been tabled in such a way that it curtails Trump’s ability to use his executive power to revoke sanctions.

Also, what we are seeing too are the limits of US democracy. The people may have voted for a president who wants to pursue friendlier relations with Russia, but the American political establishment and its powerful media organizations refuse to accept that democratic expression. The US establishment and large sections of the military-security apparatus wanted Clinton and her Cold War-style foreign policy to win the election. She lost. But the powers-that-be then resorted to Plan B of coercing the new president into adopting its policy goal of hostility toward Russia.

Is Trump being held hostage by the American «deep state» and its influential media machine? No doubt there seems to be a big factor of that at play here. But it is still not clear what Trump’s own intentions are. As well as the Congress slapping on new harsher sanctions against Russia, Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also signed off on a separate round of punitive measures. Surely, if the White House had an intention of normalizing relations with the Kremlin then Trump could have stopped the Treasury from hatching more sanctions?

There is also the question of Trump’s policy on Syria. The ratcheting up of air strikes on Syria under Trump’s watch has escalated tensions with Russia which, rightly, views the American military attacks as a grave violation of Syrian sovereignty and international law. Russia has even intimated that future US air strikes will not be tolerated. Will Trump heed this warning, or is he intent on provoking an all-out confrontation with Syria’s ally, Russia?

Trump’s meeting with Putin in Hamburg will certainly be a moment to watch, if not exactly a vaunted moment of truth. If Trump does adopt a tough-guy posture, then it suggests that the US president is indeed a hostage to reactionary anti-Russia circles in Washington. In a pathetic way, he will be seen has having been cowed by the obsessive Russophobia that is deranging US government.

Alternatively, the bets are that Trump will greet Putin with gusto and a cordial vibe. But in that case the moment will also be telling. In the context of ongoing provocative hostility towards Russia in Washington, the «friendly Trump» shows that he is a non-entity president. Someone who really has no power and ultimately cannot be trusted to make meaningful policy.

Either way, the real moment of truth will be that US democracy is a fiction.

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