Remember 2012? Possible Russia-US Cooperation Since Then


Russia has been getting to the West's wits. First, in 2014, it annexed Crimea (after a referendum vote); then it signalled it wants to occupy eastern Ukrainian territory; then, in 2015, it got involved in the Syrian civil war (first to protect its base in Latakia, and then to protect its ally Bashar al-Assad); meanwhile, it has been conducting numerous military exercises; then it sold S300 defence systems to Iran while at the same time denouncing the position of Hezbollah militants and their weapons cache; and now it is sending signals of aggression towards the West, having thus prompted NATO to place 300,000 soldiers on standby in case a war against Russia erupts.

A couple of weeks ago, President Putin ordered the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, accompanied by a submarine, down through the English channel to the Mediterranean in order to carry out air-strikes in Syria. This “stunt” made a lot of politicians nervous and NATO was put on a state of alert. Everyone is preparing for an eventual war with Russia, but is it warranted or is Russia involved in something else?

Russia values its independence and own identity. (..) We don't want world domination or expansion or confrontation with anyone. - Vladimir Putin

Indubitably, a very diplomatic statement. I personally do not fret over Russia (as, in my opinion, there are other nations we need to really be concerned about) - in fact, Russia would have much more to gain if it would work openly with the United States of America (a reason why I truly hope President-elect Trump will officially normalise the ties between the two countries – the old Cold War shtick is beyond démodè). But while Russia is not in the right place yet, we need to verify its activities. The West should not be complaining, or upset, at Russia's moves because they quite frankly encouraged it: the imposed sanctions caused Moscow to increase the production and sales of weapons; it led them to be more directly involved in the Syrian civil war to showcase their arms to their clients; and it unwittingly strengthened Russia's Position in the international board (since they were reactive, instead of doing a thorough analysis of the situation).

Sending the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, a vessel that has had its share of troubles, down the North Sea towards the Mediterranean is very symbolic: the carrier was built, during the Soviet era, in the Black Sea Shipyard (in what is now Ukraine); and in 1991 (when the Cold War ended) it sailed up to the Northern Fleet awaiting to be deployed in the Mediterranean again. What common item does Ukraine and Cold War invoke? Sanctions. The US/Western sanctions on the Soviet Union may have been harsh on the bloc but not effective enough to bring it down; therefore, Putin is telling the world that Russia lives on in spite of the present US/Western sanctions (triggered by the crisis with Ukraine), and thus it won't be that easy to bring him down either.

News that a third Russian Black Sea fleet ship leaves for Mediterranean to join anti-ISIS operations (source), in Syria, are very curious. 


Every now and then there are two questions that come to my mind:

  1. What did President Obama mean, back in 2012, when he told then-President Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after the elections? How is that conversation related to the margin of manoeuvre, and rise to stardom, Russia has been enjoying in these last four years? 
  2. What if Russia is assisting the US in pressing the Europeans to spend their due in defence, to fulfil their NATO obligations? 

Russia could be serving as a distraction for the Europeans who focus on Moscow's apparent signals of aggression rather than addressing their Islamic problems. While the Europeans now react to Putin's activities, to Trump's victory, and distract the people with it (through mainstream media); Iran, ISIS, AQ, Hamas, PLO, Hezbollah et al are slowly infiltrating operatives among the migrants swarming into the European Union - which serves as a gate to the United States. These Islamic agents will sit here and await leaders like President Abbas, for instance, to activate their cells.

Most political analysts repeat the mantra that the US allowed Russia to take a prominent position in the Middle East, but whenever I replay the 2012 Obama-Medvedev tête-à-tête the same thought pounds in my head: the two nations have been cooperating behind the scenes, while inducing the world into thinking they are renewed foes. Bearing this in mind, is Russian presence in the Mediterranean Sea intended to fight ISIS only; keep al-Assad in power; prepare for a possible Libyan incursion (which is also related to anti-ISIS ops, since the terror group is controlling the oil productive-regions in the country), keep the Europeans on their toes, or all of the above? We may be talking about a multi-layered operation here.

The European Union (minus the UK) should ponder more on the situation, especially if Washington and Moscow are indeed cooperating with each other to press them (among other things) – which could be beneficial in the long-run (i.e. eventually they would get a grip and live under their defence obligations); but dangerous in the short-term (i.e. they are vulnerable to terrorist attacks).

Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. – Sun Tzu

We could ask ourselves: what does Russia get in exchange for working under the table with the Americans? That is a question for China to answer...when we look at the Asian countries that stand with the Kremlin and the White House.


(Image: Obama and Medvedev in 2012 - NYT)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]

Comments

  1. I'd forgotten all about this 2012 recorded chat but it wouldn't be such a shocker cause this is how politics work. Everything is smoke and mirrors, so a cooperation is possible and probable. I agree about NATO and Europe, the Euros don't put enough money on defense so somebody needs to wake them the fuck up.

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  2. Russia is threatening Europe, unless you're telling us that Obama has been conspiring with Putin to threaten Europe on all sides?

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  3. The way I see it, Russia is distracting Europeans and much of the world while the Islamic terrorists infiltrate Portugal and Spain through Morocco. Does this mean Russia is complicit with the terrorists? But then where does that leave the US in your equation, Max?

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  4. Hello lass! Long time no see. We have been hearing too much of Russia, and that usually means one thing: propaganda. Yea, suddenly even the British military comes out in public admitting that Putin's new tank is a major threat. Since when do we extol the military advantage of an enemy? With this I'm trying to say you may be heading somewhere, lassie.

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  5. It's advisable to remain focused, cause by focusing too much on Russia we incur the risk of not paying enough attention to activities stemming from Morocco. While everybody frets over Moscow, the Islamist threat invades from the south. And yes, NATO has every right to demand a higher investment in defence. As for the rest of the nuances in this post: let's analyse them one by one.

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  6. Post Trump assuming office, a lot of realignments will take place and it is yet premature to imagine a scenario where the US and Russia would feature as benign entities. Both have too much at stake in terms of the military industrial complex behind the scenes and it would be those that will determine the scenario. All that we can do is to wait and watch events as they unfold. Whatever happens, one cannot ignore China any more and quite what they will do is unpredictable.

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  7. Waiting to see how this plays out. There is another very large factor in this, which is Russia's rejection of the Human Wrongs movement. That is, the Human Rights movement as it has been corrupted by PC.

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