We have seen over the past few months that the Syrian Complex is getting worse. With Turkey now moving into Iraq and the US and Europe now moving to further their entanglements in the region it is clear to anyone looking that the situation is getting more and more dangerous. The Russian involvement is not abating and soon it is likely that the Chinese too will enter the fray being that they have an interest in Iranian oil and will not be willing to see it “managed” by the United States and its allies in the region.
So what we are looking at here is quite serious just as we thought it would be after the Russians began their air campaigns and declared unequivocally their support for Bashar al Assad of Syria.
But we should here ask a salient question: Is there any way to diffuse this crisis? It is serious enough to at least attempt the answer to such a
question considering that in reality this may be far more serious than the Cuban missile crisis when you look at it carefully. Is there any way out?
What we see here is a problem that does not have a simple solution.
Concessions would amount to little
Let us say that the United States says “ok, you can have East Ukraine and Crimea” to the Russians. Lets just say this can be managed. The problems
that ensue are enormous given the state of mind that the United States is now in.
For one this would add a great deal of uncertainty in the mind’s of Eastern Bloc Europe. Up to now the Eastern bloc has been adamant in resisting
the Russians. To be sure the Western bloc of Europe could potentially see itself allied with the Russians. The Russians have everything they need, resources, and the Russians would be more than happy to merge as much as possible with Western Europe. They are actually quite compatible and could easily co-exist in symbiosis for the most part. The obstacle within Europe is the Eastern bloc. Having experienced soviet domination they do not want to have any binding ties to Russia, feeling betrayed by Stalin after world war 2. So they have resisted any suggestion that Russia and Europe mend fences.
This makes it difficult for Europe. They do not now want to antagonize the East for they know this may create unusual instability within their own neighborhood, being that many easterners have now settled in Western Europe and have some clout. Moreover disagreements of this kind will tend to weaken the EU’s resolve in any chosen direction. We are here purposely abstracting, ignoring the obvious push back from the United States. But even internally, any loss of confidence from the Eastern bloc could spell some compromise for the European Union. And this of course is something the United States and its allies would not want anyway. So in general any thought of giving in to the Russians on Ukraine would add instability to Europe both internally and externally, and so this would be against any general solution even within the confines of Europe.
Of course the main obstacle would be the United States. It goes without saying that giving in to the Russians on Ukraine would be a massive defeat
for any plan now in the works. It would basically mean that the Russians are free to do as they like, both strategically, and philosophically. That
is to say with sanctions lifted they could go back to fully arming themselves with all the gadgets the West produces, and thus able to stand toe to
toe with any power in the West, at least from a technological point of view. If the Russians have any weaknesses it is that they are not yet in
possession of the latest gadgets. Whether this is militarily essential or not is another question. But at least on paper they have some weaknesses
technologically due to the sanctions.
Yet we should not lose sight of the fact that though the front door has been closed to the Russians, the back door is wide open in that they can get whatever technology they need from China. Whether it was a good idea to impose front door sanctions on the Russians is an open question. Strategically this will bind the Russians and Chinese into closer cooperation and this may prove ultimately disastrous to the West. It will also increase internal efficiency for Russia in a need to improvise any shortages, and that in itself could be negative.
In any case what we can see here is that there is certainly much going against a Ukrainian solution given the present US sentiment and mind set.
Again, we should here warn that we cannot possibly go into all the details concerning this matter. Simply put it is too complex and too vast a subject. So what we are doing here is going over what is salient, what is important and immediate as best we can.
However, what we must say here is that even if the United States were indeed willing to concede on Ukraine(which was possibly an important strategic point to be made), there is little likelihood that the Russians would accept anything else in the Middle East, and that’s critical.
The one thing the Russians would not want is a possible “Second Front” down in their underbelly. They would not want to encounter the possibility of a hostile West having Nuclear missiles aimed at them from both the West and the South. This is absolute and there is very likely no alternative.
What the United States and its Mid East allies are asking for is not likely to be acceptable to the Russian strategists. No matter what accords are
reached in the interim concerning the Ukraine, it would always be possible to reneg on those accords, and I’m pretty sure the Russian strategists have calculated so much. In the event that hostilities arise again, any domination of the Mid East by the US and its allies could well mean that Russia is strategically overwhelmed. Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and Egypt under the control of the US and its allies could well mean extreme danger for the Russians, leaving aside the obvious economic threat of having oil and gas pipelines running through Syria, into Turkey and ultimately into Europe. This alone would preclude any agreement, but the additional strategic threat, especially from Turkey and those sympathetic to Turkey(with its ethnic and racial ties to nations) in the East would not allow Russia to reach any such agreement. The same would probably apply to China.
Russia , China have no Ideological Obligation
It must also be understood that Russia and China are not ideologically or strategically subservient to the United States, and this is critical to note.
Europe, including Britain, France and Germany were essentially defeated by the United States. Yes its true that Britain was not defeated by the
Germans, but they were essentially dependent on the United States for any kind of salvation. In effect Japan, and Europe became US dependents and had to do as they were told no matter how they postured. They had no choice in the matter, it was not a “partnership” as advertised publicly, but a de facto US hegemony. This reality did not however apply to Russia and China. Over time they fought hard, had tremendous casualties and became self determined. They will not acquiesce to dominance from the United States without outright loss in war and this should be understood clearly by all sides. If you are a strategist in the Pentagon your duty would be to ascertain the strategic reality at any given moment, and not entertain the political mass media fantasy being offered. Errors in judgement almost always have tragic results. It is the duty of the Pentagon to serve and protect the nation, and not to serve the specious interests of various schemers. There is little to no likelihood that either the Russians or the Chinese are simply going to accept what a few special interests would desire.
Yet much of what the US and its allies are asking of these two nations is in effect subservience which Russia, China, or India will likely not
accept without severe conflict.
Therefore we should not expect any such acceptance of US authority, or US exceptionalism to be honored by any of these two or three potentially very powerful nations; all having experienced quite a bit of trouble from the West in the past.
Both the Russians and the Chinese are very likely to see the present state of the West as more like degeneration than authentic policy. This too
makes matters more difficult. The question of “integrity” will always be of strategic value. Just exactly who is more representative of their
China and Russia have already had Revelations
Both these nations, China and Russia, have already had their personal revelations. Both essentially renounced the fallacy of absolute communism at great cost, and both had to come to the realization that a global economy, based on the general principle of self-determination would actually suit them far better than a dictatorial communistic system.
Though some would imagine that the Russians somehow lost the cold war, the more probable reality is that the Russians simply realized that the Soviet Union as a radically socialist, “communist” entity was no longer viable or in their best interest. It became quite clear that even as the United States had been defeated because it opposed self-determination in Vietnam, they themselves were now defeated because they opposed the principle of self-determination in Afghanistan. Moreover, they probably realized that attempting to hold on to an empire based on a flawed ideology was not going be feasible or profitable. They were not seeing any profit from continuing to maintain the soviet union as an exporter of Communist “Revolutionary” doctrine, and so they gave it up.
They came to see more potential for national self-actualization in a free market world than they could see in a fundamentally flawed “Revolutionary” communist system with ulterior Imperialist objectives as the real motives.
To many in the United States this abandonment of Communism as Imperialist doctrine by the Russians was perceived as some sort of victory over the Russians, but in reality it probably was not. The Russians like the Chinese realized the fundamental flaws in communism as a doctrine and simply abandoned it for lack of faith in it.
In the case of the Chinese the faith in the doctrine is only honored as far as the Chinese people and their fundamental aspirations as a people are served. It is clear that Chinese nationalism is at least as important to the Chinese as any communist doctrine at present(as we can see growing evidence of this even in Vietnam.) We should not assume that either the Russians or the Chinese feel defeated for having in some ways abandoned communism, for in all likelihood, they themselves do not. It was simply in their own best interest to do so. Therefore they took great pains to assert their own best interest over any illusory political ideology that held together a very unprofitable, unstable empire!
What short genuine celebrations there were in the West quickly morphed into redoubled commitment to their own flawed Imperialist “exceptionalism” which is now likely in its death throes.
The Russians and Chinese will not give in
This then makes it clear that we should not expect the Russians, or Chinese to acquiesce to whatever policies we define. They will not simply accept anything that is not in their own best interest as national entities. Their right to self determination will remain, and possibly become ever more vigorous. We should not simply think that we have returned to colonial times where one advanced nation managed to undermine and “outwit” the many others. This is not going to happen today. The general awareness is much increased due to technology and global market dynamics. Even those in the Middle East who we are today fighting a relatively primitive, at times manipulative guerrilla war against, probably have a great self awareness due to all the information on the internet. We should not assume that these elements are of the mind set expected in the middle ages, though sometimes they are portrayed that way. All of these elements are probably as aware of the general reality of the world as we are. They too are no doubt well
aware of their own will to self determination. Nor can we as an open society ever hope to limit that awareness without crushing our own liberties in the process.
Strategic Coherence of U.S. Policy
Moreover there are serious questions about the internal integrity of the West. And these questions may well be the most important. When the Russians and Chinese look at the West they will wonder just exactly who is calling the shots. They can see clearly that our “allies” can at any time act quite independently and for their own particular interests. They can also see that often these actions seem in part to originate from the United States itself, as if the United States is doing the bidding of our allies. This complicates matters. Russia and China know that our allies have deep, existential, political and financial ties to our own internal functioning and this makes it quite difficult for them to know just exactly who
is in command. These are the costs of an “open” society. Thus we are at some risk here since they will not know for certain who is supposed to be
making any deals, and whether those deals are fully representative or in the direct interest of the U.S. democracy. There will always be doubts as to the longevity of any “deals” being made with the United States. These are very serious considerations that dissuade any long lasting binding agreements short of outright conquest.
Here questions concerning the downing of the Russian passenger jet will come to the fore, and it should not be assumed that all in the Kremlin would simply accept that this plane was downed by a “terrorist” organization with no affiliations. These are serious doubts that will enter into any
consideration of a lasting peace treaty or resolution to the mid east turmoil. The are difficult to impossible obstacles to overcome no matter what the media political show time may attempt to broadcast. All sides will have an interest in making these disputes look temporary and superficial, but they are probably not that at all.
There are many more difficulties before a reasonable, peaceful solution in the Mid East can be found; but as we have already said, this subject is too complex for a single post. What we can conclude is that unless the US is willing to withdraw, willing to accept as much as possible an
“egalitarian” middle east, as well as ceding Ukraine to the Russians, or at least Crimea, it is very unlikely that any solution will be found here and this is the critical point to be made. These are not probably going to ephemeral episodes that are somehow going to pass us over like a summer thunderstorm. This is going to be a long lasting affair.
Therefore, we must conclude that we are probably talking about very serious consequences to these military movements we see in Syria. This is the rightful conclusion here, unfortunately!
It is very unlikely that the United States will accept any kind of “appeasement” at this time considering how much has been committed already. The distribution of oil and gas, and control and power structure of the Mid East and Europe will not easily allow any long lasting withdrawal for the United States from this arena in the present political atmosphere.
It is also very unlikely that either the Russians or the Chinese are going to be willing to relinquish their positions. Both have strategic liabilities to the East, and Russia could not afford a second front being formed in the South, along with one in the West should things degenerate. Therefore there is almost no chance at withdrawal from their end either.
All this being said with absolutely no consideration whatever for the economic realities facing the main players, which are quite grim being that the “Global” economy has
not quite panned out as originally intended. It is quite clear that the pure “free market” initiative and Ideal is no longer operative anywhere(instead having become itself “weaponized”), and this too will complicate matters even more.
We can therefore conclude with some confidence-or lack thereof- that things are not going to be peacefully resolved any time soon.
The U.S will Re-Enter the Mid East
The United States having used the Shia for the purpose of ousting Saddam Hussein, are now attempting to use the Sunni to oust, or at least control the Shia. Unfortunately this is not the middle ages and both parties are very likely aware of the strategy being used and will resist. The Europeans, and the US will probably have to attempt a re-entry into the battlefields of the Mid East in order to protect Iraq, and possibly Turkey, however they are not probably going to be met with open arms. Any entry into the Mid East is very likely to turn into a Vietnam type of battle, with all unpleasant effects present-and likely worse from the look of things at this point. The simple truth is that the United States and its allies simply have no friends in the Mid East and this will make things quite difficult when attempting to “take sides” as a matter of strategy. Although we can say quite confidently that the United States et al have a long standing strategic footprint in the Mid East, while the Russians have had reboot after the fall of the Soviet Union, this fact may not actually be an advantage. The strategic initiative of the US and allies has not been without obvious political cost and popular sentiment is not likely to become a serviceable currency here. Moreover it is clear that weaknesses here will eventually be exploited.
U.S. Disentanglement is not Probable
If there is any possible solution it would be in the form of disentanglement. That is the United States must make a conscious decision to withdraw from the arena and protect whatever vital resources it has, therefore those on the American continent itself. It must therefore return to being a nation, as opposed to attempting to be an “empire”. The U.S. too is running into what the Soviet Union ran into, an unprofitable ideology that costs much more than it is actually worth to maintain.
However this kind of realization is not very probable at all given the present state of mind. We are more likely going to see an increase in commitment to the Mid East, and all ensuing tragedies will probably follow.
Though it should be said that none of this is necessarily in the interest of the American people en mass. These wars are more likely to cause a tighter control of domestic freedom, and yet more corruption of democratic principles, and more coercion of “free market” principles in order to finance these wars.
The net result is likely to lead to some kind of direct confrontation between the main actors.
Ultimately we may encounter a power proxy terrorism which would devastate the nations involved and ultimately lead to direct confrontation between the main sponsors. Yet this is the direction we are now heading in.