In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

The audacious Mr Putin

Posted by seumasach on May 25, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

25th May, 2014

Prince Charles is only the lunatic fringe of so many in the West who like to characterize Vladimir Putin as a ruthless and ambitious dictator hell-bent on his goal of refounding the Soviet Union. But if he is ruthless and ambitious why would he limit himself to such a mediocre and fruitless goal?
His latest statements as reported by RT deserve careful attention:
“I really would not like to think that this is a beginning of a new Cold War,” he said speaking with the heads of the world media at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “I think this is not going to happen.”
As for the Western sanctions against Russia, “I think that they are absolutely counterproductive, not based on a fair attitude to existing problems, and driven by a desire to impose on Russia international relations developments that do not correspond either with international law or with mutual interests. They certainly do not correspond with Russian interests,” Putin said.
Isolation of Russia is “impossible,” Putin stressed, adding that there is a “mutual dependence” between Russia with both the US and EU.
Not only is there no hint here of the reconstitution of the Soviet sphere but there is no suggestion of the much-touted turn from the West towards an Eastern alliance. The truth is that Putin, as a man of great ambition, is not reckoning on having to choose between East and West, between the BRICS and the US and EU: he aims to choose both.
A little thought shows that a mere Russia-China(BRICS) alliance is inadequate from the point of view of Russian interests. The strategic tensions with the West would remain unresolved and would continue to distort Russia’s internal development. Excessive and badly required resources would continue to be poured into defense to counter threats such as missile defense and ongoing NATO destabilization programs. Russia’s natural trading relations with Europe , especially Germany, would be disrupted. This would be far from the win/win scenario so wished for and so required.
The holy grail for Putin is a strategic partnership with Washington. This is not only of mutual interest but the key to the historic imperative of ending war, hot or cold. It may appear to be a laughable goal given the current media-generated anti-Russian frenzy but let us hope that deeper trends are at work and that the coming collapse of the US economy is focusing Obama’s mind marvelously and that he is coming to see a strategic partnership with those hitherto presumed to be America’s enemies as a drowning man sees his rescuers.
Of course, the obstacles to such a resolution are great. The death of an empire whose tentacles are everywhere is a prolonged and obscure agony. The hydra has many heads and there are countless agendas which have been heavily invested in: five billion dollars, apparently, in the current Ukraine fiasco alone. But I suspect Russia have strategic depth in Ukraine and that the new president, Poroshenko, will be a disappointment to the West’s war party.
With a diplomatic solution in sight in Ukraine and the West’s contras in retreat in Syria and Venezuela the air will begin to clear, the smoke of war to dissipate and the two most prominently left standing will be Putin and Obama. Certainly, next to Putin’s grandmaster role, Obama cuts a rather forlorn figure but in his role of commander -in-chief he has recognized the unwillingness of the US military, as opposed to the various agencies, to engage in further futile and destructive war. This was the minimum required of him and he has duly delivered(touch wood!).
We will then see that there is no contradiction between the Eurasian Union( the economic reunification of the post-Soviet space), the Lisbon to Vladivostok economic space(hopefully, we might be allowed in too, once Prince Charles has apologized) and strategic partnerships between the US and the BRICS. This is the win/win scenario, nothing short of the unification of humanity itself and the only scenario worth the audacity of hoping for.

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