America’s grand strategy, its long-term blueprint for advancing national interests and countering major adversaries, is in total disarray. Top officials lurch from crisis to crisis, improvising strategies as they go, but rarely pursuing a consistent set of policies. Some blame this indecisiveness on a lack of resolve at the White House, but the real reason lies deeper. It lurks in a disagreement among foreign policy elites over whether Russia or China constitutes America’s principal great-power adversary.
Russia Promises "Economic And Military" Aid To Syria As US Refloats Assad "Chemcial Weapons" Trial BalloonSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/29/2015 12:24 -0400
The Syrian "chemical weapons" narrative is back and with it is the confirmaton that Russia will not leave the US dictate middle eastern borders unilaterally. Syria's foreign minister said on a visit to Moscow on Monday that top ally Russia had promised to send political, economic and military aid to his country. "I got a promise of aid to Syria - politically, economically and militarily," Walid al-Moualem said at a televised news conference in Moscow after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention. As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing - the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.
"Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Barack Obama.... the presidents of Russia and the US had an extensive discussion of current issues in bilateral relations. They also engaged in a detailed exchange of opinions concerning the situation in Syria and touched on settling the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme."
As we recently noted, Russia and Saudi Arabia appear oddly allied in recent weeks. What happens when two nations, that together account for more than fourth quarter of global oil production, begin collaborating on future energy projects?
We had wondered at the relative lack of response by Russia to extended sanctions and asset freezes in Europe and now we see the first major move. Having confirmed new counter-sanctions this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin just threw The IMF (US taxpayers), and Ukraine's 'American' finance minister under the bus... "Moscow can no longer give Ukraine gas discounts due to the current drop in oil prices." The price must be on level of other countries like Poland, he added.
In principle, there could not be a more spectacular game-changer-in-waiting. A royal Saudi caravan offering tribute, in the form of incense, gold and myrrh (or higher oil prices)? No one knows, yet, how this will play out in the New Great Game in Eurasia, of which a major spin-off is Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia. Putin and King Salman – very discreetly — had been in touch over the phone for weeks. The King’s son invited Putin to Riyadh. Accepted. Putin invited the King to Moscow. Accepted. But is this real life? Or smoke and mirrors? Who's allied with whom?
Over the past several months, tensions between Russia and the West have escalated meaningfully. While it’s certainly true that, since Crimea, US-Russia relations have deteriorated steadily (baskets of potatoes notwithstanding), recent events suggests the situation may come to a head more quickly than either side cares to admit. In the latest provocation, Europe has extended economic sanctions against Moscow for another six months or, until the Kremlin agrees to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreement which Europe, on the word of Kiev, assumes Moscow is violating. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter blasts Russian "nuclear saber rattling."
Senior Russian officials said Kremlin lawyers are studying France and Belgium’s seizure of Russian government assets in the two countries as part of a court settlement to compensate shareholders of Yukos, the privately owned oil company that was shut down by Moscow.
We have now reached the point where the euro does not have a problem – the euro is the problem. De-risking it should be a priority for European leaders, as it now poses a chronic risk to global financial stability. Either the outliers need to leave or the countries inside the eurozone needs to move down the pathway to full political, economic and monetary union.
And does it really want to?
"If no agreement is reached on Monday, then the ECB will have little reason to show further flexibility and it will likely freeze its ELA limit on Greek banks. As a result capital controls will become almost inevitable after Monday."
The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status. This is not going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West? The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would then be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.
This is an eventful period for EU-Russia gas relations. How should the most recent evolutions of the Russian waltz of pipelines be interpreted? There are three possible scenarios...
On the heels of Thursday's move by Belgium, France, and Austria to freeze Russian state assets in connection with the disputed Yukos ECHR ruling, Moscow vows to retailiate in kind, while the chairman of the former Yukos holding company pushes the US to join Europe in enforcing the arbitration court's decision.