Real, hardcore sanctions, if ever applied, would be devastating mostly
for North Atlantic Treaty Organization poodles, not Moscow. Meanwhile,
(energy) adults continue to do business as usual.
There's no way to understand Cold War 2.0 without a flashback to November 2010, when Vladimir Putin directly addressed German business/industry, proposing an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
German interest in this key strategic relationship
has been reciprocal. Amplified to other nations, that implies in the
long run a full European Union-Russia economic/trade integration, and,
in the bigger picture, a step closer to Europe-Asia integration.
Which translates as absolute anathema for the embattled,
For all of US Think Tankland talking and theorizing,
breathlessly, about "containment" of a "rogue state" - which in itself
is laughable, as if Russia was Somalia - the Obama administration's
overarching "strategy" is really in a class by itself. This
masterpiece of juvenile delinquent diplomacy boils down to "ignore Putin".
Call it the "I don't like you; I don't wanna talk to
you; I just wish you'd die" school of diplomacy. How come Talleyrand
never thought if it? Well, with advisers such as the astonishing
mediocrity Ivo Daalder, a former ambassador to NATO, no wonder Obama
does not need enemies.
All we need is Lavrov
The sanctions hysteria is designed to force President
Putin to bow to the hegemon's whims, as part of the overall "strategy";
forging an "international consensus" to "isolate" Russia and turn it
into a "pariah state". "Pariah states" that do energy mega-deals, as
in here and here.
Still, the predominant wishful thinking revolves around
the economic strangulation of Russia - as it was relentlessly
attempted against Iran (and bravely resisted by Iranians). Inside
their bubble, the wishful thinkers even believe Beijing will be on
board, oblivious to the fact that Beijing clearly sees the sanction
hysteria/ignore Putin "doctrine" as a branch of the "pivoting to Asia"
- which is essentially military containment of China.
In the end, the Kremlin has also reached a similar
conclusion: it's useless to talk to Washington. After all, the
hegemon's laundry list remains the same - the Kremlin is not allowed
to support popular protests in eastern and southern Ukraine; everyone
must submit to the neo-nazi/neo-fascist-allied regime changers in Kiev;
and Crimea must be "returned" - to NATO - so NATO can kick Moscow out
of the Black Sea.
Washington's ultimate wet dream would be to interrupt
gas shipments by Gazprom from Russia to the EU - in fact trade
sabotage, which Moscow would undoubtedly interpret as an act of war.
Meanwhile, Washington/NATO's "Plan A" remains to lure the Kremlin into
an "invasion" - so Putin can be (in fact already is) denounced as
"the new Hitler" and the ultimate threat to the EU.
So much for the "containment/isolation" martini
cocktail of arrogance, ignorance, impotence and irresponsibility.
Diplomatic finesse? Forget it. In terms of a real diplomat at work,
feel free to admit "All We Need Is Lavrov".
Go back to Game of Thrones
Moscow has so many ways to retaliate real hard
against the hegemon: in Syria; on the Iran nuclear dossier; on NATO's
ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution
Network, which goes through Russia; on the future of Afghanistan.
If the White House and the US State Department really
wanted to listen to how Putin frames the relationship between the West
and Russia, that has been voiced repeatedly by the Kremlin. Russia
expects respect from "our Western partners", who since 1991 have
treated it not as "an independent, active participant in international
affairs", with "its own national interests that need to be taken into
account and respected", but as a backward or dangerous nation to
dismiss and "contain".
The historical record clearly shows Washington does
not respect the national interests of anybody; the only thing that
matters is that they should always be subordinated to Washington's
The Kremlin, in a nutshell, has invited Washington to
play realpolitik. Not Monopoly. The Obama administration, at best -
and we are being very lenient here - plays checkers. Moscow plays chess.
A mad drive to instill chaos in Russia's western borderlands while
"ignoring" Putin won't change the Kremlin's defense of what it
perceives as Russia's national interests.
Let's say the "project" was to seize Ukraine, kick
Moscow out of the Sevastopol base, and thus from the Eastern
Mediterranean; and then take over Syria, so Qatar - and not
Iran-Iraq-Syria - may get "its" share of Pipelineistan via Jordan and a
Sunni-ruled Syria towards EU markets. The "project" is miserably
Yet the sanctions game will persist (like it did with
Cuba, Iraq, Iran). The White House is already concocting more of the
same. No adults in Europe will follow. Even poodles are able to sniff
that the Obama administration does not even qualify to play Game of Thrones on PlayStation 3.
Pepe Escobar (Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All
rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and