There appears to be no rush to patch up Cold War wounds. Two centuries of Anglo-Russian rivalry, pitting a Eurasian “Heartland/World Island” against the “Rimland,” “Outer Crescent,” or Insular Crescent” of geopolitical jargon, belie the fantasy of the Realist world where alliances can be altered at the snap of a finger. The mirage of Palmerston’s dictum that states have no friends, only interests, upended by the inertia of international conflict as perpetual as the earth’s rotation. The Kantian peace, a figment of Europe’s feverish utopism, as impractical as Metternich’s balances of power and the attempt to resolve legally, what are essentially demographic, political, and social quandaries.
It is too early to tell whether Trump’s election boasting of seeking rapprochement with Russia were worth the sleepless nights they caused the American establishment. Too early because the Kremlin assumes Washington is about to appease Russian strategic objectives while asking for nothing in return. Too early because Trump is only getting started in domesticating a recalcitrant civil service and reigning in an intransigent Deep State whose town-criers are already screaming about his Autocracy, and the coming tyranny.
The intentions of apparatchiks running American foreign policy for the last three decades was to preempt Trump’s election, inauguration, and his assumption of power by subverting the institutions of government, the rule of law, and disrupting the peaceful transition of power. Having underestimated Trump’s support among professionals and the electorate, the Pthirus Pubis of the Deep State are now holding the short end of the stick as he slowly, but surely, consolidates his cabinet.
Fuming that Trump would lessen their choke-hold over Middle East and Eurasian policy, the Pthirus wasted their resources on a fellow New Yorker, and dropped the ball on foreign policy. Preoccupied with congressional committees, media witch-huts, insubordinate judges, and threats of impeachment, Washington has ceded primacy to Russia and the EU in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ukraine respectively. From January 2017 to the time of the writing of this article, it is Moscow which is dictating the terms of a post-Syrian War settlement, with only marginal American, Western, and NATO input, while the Ukraine is demoted to an argument between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
The risks of Russia’s sudden, but transient monopoly are as unprecedented as the behavior of the Pthirus whose recklessness has made it come to pass. This feat of outright imbecility would be incomprehensible, were it not for a self-evident penchant of all psychopaths to regularly dilute their brilliance with the stupidity inherent to their asocial nature. In attempting to destroy the very foundation of their own power – the American state – neocons have rendered it irrelevant in precisely the geopolitical arenas where their interests lay, and Putin is setting the tone in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iran, with Israel feistily looking to retake the initiative, lest its preoccupation with containing Iranian influence are disregarded or ignored by Vladimir Putin.
The situation is a recipe for calamity, and the direct opposite of what the Pthirus intended, even if precisely what Trump may have wished for. The president’s recent hesitation on reaching out to Russia has confused many who interpreted his campaign willingness to stick it out for Putin as a sign of genuine interest in inking a Russo-American deal. A deal, which in practical terms, is of a scale greater, and less plausible, than the vaunted eschaton of an elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
game calamity is now the Gordian knot of Russo-American relations. Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, Tehran, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv are shuttling in and out of Moscow’s Domodedovo, in what is frantic and hopeless agitation. Moscow’s willingness to countenances Turkish, Israeli, and GCC interference in Syria’s internal affairs, while sacrificing Kurdish, Lebanese, Iranian, and Assad’s own interests is unsustainable. Putin is in a tough bind, and his hands can easily be forced by any participant who senses Russia’s weakness. Ambiguity means Trump will be cough flat-footed, when Americas credibility is put to an immediate test. Whether such developments stem from the neocons’ inherently anti-American impulses, or Trump’s brinkmanship with strategic deception and unpredictability, will not matter when Russian, Turkish, Iranian, Lebanese, and Israeli armies drag NATO into direct confrontation with Russia.
As Turkey takes out Kurdish SDF and YPG units, CNN looks one way, and Russia24 the other, but the day Israeli and Russian fighters clash above Syrian skies, it wont’ be a rerun of Rimon. Ankara will coordinate with Tel Aviv to preempt the emergence of a Rojava state, Erdogan’s appetite whetted by the promise of slaying the Russian bear in a former Ottoman vilyaets catapulting him from President to Caliph, guaranteeing that the ideological hue of the Middle East’s confrontation result in (another) self-fulfilled prophecy of Armageddon.
Trump’s deliberate ambiguity, could cost someone an arm and a leg.
The same goes for the Ukraine. At an earlier NATO meeting, VP Mike Pence and military top-brass signaled unyielding American support for the super-power that is Europe, with its megatons of nuclear war-heads, bales of intercontinental ballistic missiles, four-score of aircraft carriers, and half a million tanks, ready to roll east of the Dnieper and right onto Red Square. The message – the direct opposite of Trump’s America First – is that Europe’s clericy can have its cake and eat it too. POTUS either gave orders to walk-back comments on NATO being toothless, or he was bidding for time with krauts anxious about losing their place in NATO if his electoral agenda of closer ties with Russia is authentic. An agenda which presume concessions to Moscow, that elites in Paris, Berlin, and London, aren’t prepared to swallow.
Publicly Washington squirms at the notion of granting Russia the same rights it gives to all its allies, namely influence in their immediate neighborhoods, but privately no one can be fooled about the stakes of a Russian-American deal.
The GCC is Saudi Arabia’s private playground where Riyadh is expected to call the shots. Aside from waging war in Yemen, and financing terror from Sudan to Eritrea, Saudi Arabia intervened militarily in Bahrain, while a military force composed of battalions from its neighbors is based within Saudi borders. Completely ignored by the Pthira and semi-literate literati of the MSM is Riyadh’s control over GCC countries by hosting the patriarchs of the Wahabi clan to which all GCC members with the exception of Oman, are religiously in thrall. (Muscat’s own icono-phobic sect of Ibadi Islam isn’t far removed in from the austerity of the Al-Wahab, with whom it shares a salafist outlook.) This tremendous scale of influence is handed to Saudi Arabia on a platter by Washington in exchange for paying lip-service to America’s interests at the supposedly higher level of global affairs.
A crow’s flight away from Riyadh, the lion share of America’s foreign aid budget goes to Israel’s immediate neighbors, so as to benefit Israel’s regional geopolitical interests. Control over Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon is purchased with a mere annual 5 billion of US taxpayers dollars in exchange for Israel’s unyielding support for America in the UN, IMF, and countless and infinite international forums.
Japan gets an even better deal than the Saudis or Israelis. It can buy up all of East Asia without allowing any foreigners to gain dominant positions on its stock exchange, while America has to maintain soldiers in over half of the Hermit peninsula just so the emperors in Edo can sleep in peace. Japanese trawlers can massacre whales and dolphins in international waters of their choosing, and America will back them so some sniveling mandarin of the LDP can feast on rare bluefish tuna caught off the coast of Nova Scotia!
Washington has never clamped-down on the UKs and France’s vast post-colonial network of overseas possessions, even when transgressing the fabled Monroe doctrine of not tolerating European Men-at-arms in the Americas. From Guinea to British Honduras, to dozens of Caribbean Islands, it is a given that Washington indulges allies with benefits in the domain of extra-territoriality. In return we are supposed to receive international support for American hegemony and the Anglo-centric system of global trade centered on New York, London, and Honk Kong.
A Russian deal presumes the same parameters, but our current allies worry these can’t be granted without directly cutting into their own compensation packages.
Acknowledging the Kremlin’s right to a near-abroad as we do with Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and post-Colonial European powers, is a reversal of previous policy and can destabilize America’s overseas patronage networks. Countries rightfully fret that tying the knot with Moscow, will entice America to cut-off the more blatant moochers among them. They are afraid of becoming has-beens, irrespective of their actual uselessness and noxiousness to American national interests.
Russia is the only country besides the United States with a continued experience of unbroken military combat for the last 50 years. It boasts the only army except our own, capable of considerable overseas expedition and combat operations. Working together with Moscow can resolve a plethora of America’s present security problems, but Russia isn’t about to gamble away its capabilities in pursuit of Anglo-American interests without asking for more than mere recognition of a near-abroad.
Just as America’s prowess presumes the prerogative of maintaining foreign policy neutrality in countries with whom we share no continuous border, Russia will ask that it enjoy reciprocal privileges as a minimum up to the Elbe and Litani, if not on the global stage outright. A grand scheme at which every NSC staffer will balk, before being reminded that it is already a pattern in place with our nominally closest allies – the British.
What Russia has, that none of America’s allies can boast, is a self-respect, lucidity, and a capacity for self-sacrifice which our “friends” would be well served to esteem and emulate. It is a country which inhumed twenty million of its youth so the Holocaust didn’t come to its logical conclusion. Russia is currently fighting the vermin responsible for massacring innocent people from Miami to Paris and Mosul and Idlib instead of just paying lip service to “human rights” and transgender studies while virtue signaling itself to death in apoplexies of social justice jihadism. Such an ally is worth its weight in gold and an honest effort to tie the knot to boot.
The moribund elites of Europe understand the import of a Russia deal better than anyone in Tokyo or Haifa. Offering Russia what is a standard “allied” package will cut into the welfare checks with which we feed these insipid aristocrats and pretentious bureau-preneurs. The more dubious and fetid the ally, the more it has to fear. Countries quick on their feet, will either slinker back into America’s fold or find themselves cut-out, cut-off, and left to freeze when their overwrought territorial pretensions are exposed as incompatible with America’s National Interest. Those “allies” who have gotten used to hoodwinking the American people into believing that their parochial regional ambitions overlap perfectly with the needs of the American people, better start delivering a modicum of benefits to the American people with whose children and means they insist on waging their regional wars.
Stemming global disorder is no easy feat, and it boasts only one antidote. Lucidity of mind and a natural aversion to bullshit. When America’s allies aren’t high on weed or bouncing on ecstasy, they spew lie after lie, and are as cynical, nihilistic, vile and clueless as the revelers of the Costa del Sol or Constanta. Trump is the answer to Bush’s nefarious coalition of the Willing. Nearly two decades after America’s
allies (GCC countries + facilitators), took out the World Trade Center in Manhattan the world went from Taliban ruled Afghanistan to an Islamic Caliphate dripping on a map of everything from the Maghreb, through the Horn of Africa, and right back into Pakistan.
The mendacity of this Coalition of Nitwits belies more than neglect, but direct ill-will towards America. It cries out for a gutsy, and audacious unwinding in favor of simpler, and more easily managed relationships with less malevolent partners.
The fairy-tale of a Ukraine joining the EU, while Russia is to remain forever outside its walls, isn’t worth the life of a single American soldier. Lvov, not Kiev, should join the EU. If the Ukraine cannot come to terms with the modern UPA, it is far more prudent to let a four-million periphery of Neo-Nazis around Lvov to secede from Kiev, than to subject forty million Ukrainians to the whims and abuse of a swastika worshiping minority in the West.
If Europe is prepared to die for the restoration of Crimea to a Ukraine which obtained the peninsula in 1954 as a result of a Bolshevik ukaz, then it should simply hand Crimea to its rightful owners – the Ottomans, along with seed capital for the resumption of the slave trade which flourished in Istanbul right up till 1915 with Crimea as the Goree of the East until its conquest by Russia by Catherine the Great.
The Crimean referendum might not meet Austria’s high electoral standards, but it still isn’t worth a drop of American blood that can be spilled on
Kiev’s Lvov’s behalf. It is UPA offspring living in Australia, Canada, and America with their Pthirus minders in DC that precipitated the Crimean crisis, and it is the Pthirus that ceded Russia its current place of pride in the Eastern Med, and it is only the Pthirus who are convinced that these turn-of-events were a disservice to the Ukraine and Syria. History may beg to differ, and hopefully assure that the hysterical bloviation of unelected, careerist sociopaths are condemned to damnatio memoriae.
The gist of an Americano-Russian deal is money, capital, and trade. A century of mistrust explains why bilateral commercial ties with Russia are smaller than America’s trade with Taiwan, or Spain. In theory, both countries have an open capital account. Sanctions aside, practice reveals a different picture. With a handful of exceptions, Russian money is tainted as illicit, and is eschewed in the West. From claims of mob-ties made about specific entities, to a general reluctance among Davosmen to allow Russian capital in their backyards except where Kremlin backing is secured, Russia’s markets remain beyond the reach of mainstream Western investors. Wariness of doing business in Russia perpetuates corrupt practices of patronage and bribery in what is a Catch-22 which only closer institutional bonds between East and West can alleviate. As things stand, South Korean corporations are more integral to Russia’s economy, than those listed on the New York stock exchange, and US investment in Russia, and Russian investments in America are grossly insufficient to generate areas of common interest on the international stage.
The elites of America and Russia couldn’t be further apart, and with the exception of Trump, few of them have ever suggested the possibility of coming closer. Post-Soviet oligarchs continue to see London and New York as an insurance policy against an unpredictable future, and the Kremlin can’t change this as long as it exists on the margin of the Davos economy.
For three centuries what was good for American enterprise was good for America, while for one millennia what’s good for Russian business, is bad for Russia and for Russians.
America leads with trade and commerce, Russia relies on politics and an uncompromising security posture. Trump’s life-long familiarity with organized crime in both the gambling and construction industries, along with experience dealing with governments, committees, and regulations explain his unique open-mindedness in approaching the post-Soviet capitalism of the FSU, but because it is not a savoir faire common to the CFR-State Department circuit, without whose support Trump cannot translate his encouraging personal experience into a general policy platform, bilateral ties will remain mired in geopolitical confrontation for the foreseeable future. NATO is all America has got for now, and a deal with Russia requires too much unorthodox thinking and an equally unorthodox effort to even get started.
If memoirs, interviews, and books are anything to go by, there is little to doubt Trump’s sincerity on most issues, including Russia. It’s the abundance of means, where we all suffer from a collective illusion. Trump is surrounded by converts and late-comers to his cause. Many around him talk of a sense of duty and commitment, but their credibility is poor. A fetishization of the military suggest limited experience with loyalty or dedication in personal or professional life. Reliant on his children to whom Trump might be as much a stranger on a bevy of issues as to the Establishment, Trump should seek the means to his ambitions beyond the elitist social circles from which he hails. John Quincy Adams warned against going abroad in search of monsters, but said nothing about going there in search of friends, companions, and allies.
Trump’s meteoric rise to the top of the American political establishment is a story in which the personal is indissociable from the public and historical. A Russo-American alliance could augur more than just friendly interstate relations. It could plausibly enrich Trump with a friend that finally resembles himself. It could serve as a source of energy and support needed to bring his national agenda to fruition.
As things stand, there might first be a fight before a friendship is given a chance to begin, and the credit for creating these circumstances goes to the pubic lice which have been allowed to fester in our promiscuous nether-regions since the Hillbillies from Hope sold lock stock and barrel what comprised America’s unique democratic and republican culture and its historical dignity.