1 thought on “The ghost of the Cold War”

  1. I believe it an error of judgement to counterpose the power and the realistic extension of Russian interests in Syria and the Middle East against the energy, reach and resources of the US. They may appear as adversaries on the world stage but they most certainly are not. There are several grounds for this assumption. One is that Russia is economically strapped, it has for example a GDP lower than that of Australia, the other is that Mr Putin is the most powerful and wealthy oligarch in Russia. Mr Putin by virtue of his curtailed and directed interests in his wealth is not so much extending the interests of Russia economically nor geopolitically but engaged with the strategy of cornering opportunity for his personal economic interests, for example a pipeline via Lattakia to the Mediterranean.
    I suspect that with access to Jared Kushner the facility of a guaranteed pipeline via Syria has already been concluded with the US. The existence of a Russian presence in Syria is an effective confirmation that Russia plays an important ‘counter force’ in the extension of the apparent public view of an opposing ideological view to the US policy. The playoff between Russia and the US is easily the two powers agreeing to present some opposing doctrine that is ultimately the playoff of sides in a real estate deal. The counter positions they publicly hold is partly conscious and also unconsciously a drama of their mutual engagement in an economic drama of attendant hegemonies required for their appearance as opposing ideologies on the world stage. They are far more choreographed than the literature is prepared to suggest.
    Russia does not present a real threat to anyone’s security except in respect to business interests in a context of a business strategy for enduring access. I would infer that the invasion and annexation of the Crimea by the Russians although opposed by many of the worlds member states is a ruse, Russia could site many precedents for their action in terms of world history but at the bottom line lies strategic access to the Black Sea, not for warships but the export of oil. Russia therefore is in a geopolitical chess game with the US and others that has business and economic facility as it’s corner stone.
    Russia’s engagement with Israel is on a far more sentimental foundation than with the Middle East in general and therefore is the far more reliable indicator of where his ideological interests lie. His several personal visits to meet his 2m Israeli citizens of Russian descent in Israel is far more visceral than say his apparent support for Assad. He has said this more or less on numerous personal visits to that country.
    The international acceptance of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel was just a matter of time. There are enough legal precedents in recent legal history to make it a plausible cause that can be justified alas with less and less reflection on the aspirations of the Palestinians. I say this because the march of conquest of the Arab world against Israel in 1947 and 1967 despite the UN mandates holding at that time supersedes in the mind of many the argument against Palestinian legal entitlement. The threat by the Arab world at the time of the two wars has never been rescinded and remains a powerful land mark threat of existential proportion that can easily be used to justify Israel’s intransigence in the face of other UN edicts.
    I have little doubt that the decision for the US Embassy to move to Jerusalem was not based on Trump’s pre-election promise alone. To assume that Trump and his inner circle conjured up this move alone I think is foolhardy. There is little doubt in my mind that Trump’s, Putin’s, Saudi Arabia’s and the Egyptian Governments agreed for various not unrelated reasons for this to happen and in this case it is not as simple as ‘real estate’ it is to do with the confrontation with Tehran’s equivalent of Rocket Man Mt Khamanei. The Cold War predicament is long gone, it is in fact an old fashioned pretext disappeared with Sputnik and the Iron Curtain. The 10 or more billion US Dollars that Putin owns and cannot access in the US is a far more pressing dilemma for him than a few more poison filled barrel bombs dropped by Syria on it’s own population.

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