TWO BIG THINGS. Brexit is one; too early to say what the long-term effects will be but they are likely to be large: support for the EU has been dropping pretty steadily. The anti-Russia crowd had the usual take: “How Brexit is a win for Putin” “Brexit Is a Russian Victory” Moscow invested in it and much more. Mind you, so frazzled are the neocons by the result that we see the admission of that which was never to be said out loud: “For decades, NATO and the European Union have silently worked in unison.” So, given that the EU and NATO are two sides of the same coin, maybe Putin & Co are happy. The other event to give Putin a smile was that Erdoğan has folded. One is reminded of bin Laden’s strong horse and weak horse: Washington’s activities over the last decade and a half have been powerful, immensely destructive but thoroughgoing failures; Moscow has played its hand rather skilfully. It would be surprising if countries were not recalculating costs and benefits.
“FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE“. Well, not that simple, actually. From Russia originally, to be sure, but not extradited as requested either. The suspected mastermind of the Istanbul airport bombing was given refugee status by Austria and Russian extradition requests were refused because he said he had been “tortured”. There is also a Georgian connection: read about it here – RFE Feb 2015 and Civil Georgia Apr 2013 – because your local news outlet won’t tell you. Story that he had a Georgian passport and was protected by Saakashvili. Another consequence of the delusion that the US and its surrogates can use jihadists in one place, fight them in another and that the jihadists will never move from the one place to the other. Speaking of which, another instantaneous collapse of a US-trained -paid and -equipped “moderate rebel” force in Syria last week; Daesh gets more weaponry from the US taxpayer.
GMO. As many people expected, Russia is establishing itself as GMO-free: “Government may ban the import into Russia of genetically modified organisms designed to be released into the environment and (or) products obtained from or containing such organisms.” Medvedev just said that “Now, Russia is able to feed itself without foreign food imports“; I think he’s a bit premature but not by much. Putin just extended food counter-sanctions for another 18 months. I don’t believe that Russia’s agricultural potential has ever been realised. But it’s starting to.
SANCTIONS. French report puts loss of business at $US60 billion, 77% borne by EU. Figures a year old; more by now. Just extended. Non-completion with Minsk II one of the reasons; here is the text: find the word “Russia” in it. But they’ve been good for Russia and bad for the EU.
THE “RUSSIAN THREAT”. Hacked e-mails show Gen Breedlove, when NATO commander, trying to force the White House’s hand. “The emails, however, depict a desperate search by Breedlove to build his case for escalating the conflict, contacting colleagues and friends for intelligence to illustrate the Russian threat.” The Germans and French were correct to say that he was making stuff up. So here we are today. Perhaps, in 15 years, there will be another Chilcot report.
RUSSIA-CHINA. “China and Russia vowed to unswervingly deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.” Year 16 of the New American Century isn’t turning out so well, is it? China-Russia alliance, stronger Iran, unending wars with no victory in sight. Wobbly allies too.
REFUGEES. Remember when Russia’s intervention in Syria was going to create a “new wave of refugees” or when refugees were Russia’s new “weapon of choice“? Well, numbers are well down these days. Why? The EU-Turkey agreement is one reason but Syrians are returning to Syria.
SCO. India and Pakistan are about to be accepted as members and Iran is not far behind. The organisation quietly grows, stitched together by the Belt and Road.
PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. “Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.”
WESTERN VALUES™. Reactions to the Brexit vote: “This isn’t democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics.” “the central injustice of democracy” “Democracy has never meant the tyranny of the simple majority” “Racism is to blame” “I fear tolerant Britain is lost for ever“. And so on. In short, voting is good but only if it gives the correct answer. I look forward to reading these people excoriate Russia in the coming elections for lack of “democracy”.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada