Tuesday, July 24, 2018

An Opportunity to Rethink


unz |  Putin’s problem is the hybrid warfare carried out by the United States against Russia. Despite accusations you hear in your media (alleged Russian ads in the Facebook and Twitter influencing voters), American pressure on Russia is very real and very painful. American officials try to wreck every international deal Russia attempts to clinch. It is not only, or even mainly about weapons. If a country A wants to sell Russians, say, bananas, the US ambassador will come to A’s king, or his minister, and will expressly forbid him to sell bananas to godless Russians. Otherwise, do not expect the US aid, or do not count on US favours in your disputes with your neighbours, or the US won’t buy your production, or US banks will take another long and jaundiced view at your financial transactions. You witnessed the scene, when the crazed Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, threatened sovereign nations with severe punishment for voting against the US desires, so you have an idea of American delicacy and caution while pushing their will through.

Russians are in a very uncomfortable seat. All their neighbours are subject to American pressure to annoy Russia, be it Georgia (once they even attacked Russia militarily being led by American and Israeli advisers) or the Ukraine (Americans arranged a coup d’état and installed extremely hostile to Russia government in Kiev). American military bases surround Russia and NATO troops drew closer and closer to its centres. American military budget of 600 billion dollars dwarfs the Russian one, while the armaments’ race can undermine Russian finances. If Russia were a woman, she would scream: stop it!

Perhaps our colleague Mr Andrei Martyanov is right and the US can’t destroy Russia militarily; perhaps Immanuel Wallerstein is correct and American power is in decline; but meanwhile the US is perfectly able to make life hard and difficult for any state. It made life unbearably hard for North Korea, extremely hard for Iran. Russia is not doing half as good as she could do without ceaseless American meddling.

President Putin would like Trump to relent. There is no reason for this incessant picking on Russia; it is not Communist anymore; it is much smaller and less populous than the former USSR; it wants to live in peace as a member of the family of nations, not as a great alternative. The anti-Russian offensive began in earnest in the days of previous US presidents, namely Obama and Clinton; so it would make sense for Trump to stop it.

Problem is, President Trump is also actively engaged in war against Russia. Just a few days ago he pressured the German Chancellor to give up on the North Stream-2, to stop buying Russian gas. His advisers demanded that Turkey desist from buying a Russian antimissile system. The US Air Force bombed Russian troops in Syria.

Still Putin made a good try. He proposed to hold a referendum in the Donbas area of Eastern Ukraine which is presently independent though lacking international recognition. The people of Donbas had their own referendum in 2014, and voted for independence; Kiev regime and its Western sponsors denied its validity as it was done under Russian army’s protection, they claimed. Now Putin proposed a re-run under international auspices.