US SANCTIONS, BAFFLED RUSSIANS, HOT AIR AND HISTORY
by The Saker
The paradox: US sanctions – a blessing in disguise?
Let’s think about what the USA has been doing over the past couple of years. Officially, the USA has been trying to “isolate” Russia. But isolate from exactly what? From Peru? Or maybe from cultural exchanges with Morocco? Hardly. When the USA says that it wants to isolate Russia it means cut Russia off the western markets (trade), the western financial system (credit) and the western political elites (fora). These sanctions were supposed to hurt Russia precisely because Russia was, at least in part, dependent on trade with the EU, credits from western financial institution and her participation in G8 (now G7) type of events. Putin predicted that it would take 2 years for Russia to recover from these sanctions (and the concomitant drop in energy prices) and he was right: Russia not only created new trade ties, but also finally began investing in her internal market, she found credits elsewhere (China) and in terms of fora, it really turned out that the G7 without Russia was more or less like the Council of Europe or, for that matter, the UN Security Council: useless. Instead, world leaders began booking flight and visiting Moscow. Now the latest US sanctions are putting an immense amount of pressure on Russian oligarchs to bring their money back home. It sure looks to me that US sanctions made it possible for Putin to do something he might never have been able to do without them: to seriously begin reforming Russia (which badly needed such reforms). Remember, Eurasian Sovereignists are just that – sovereignists; whereas Atlantic Integrationists are just that – integrationists. By “cutting off Russia from the West” – whose agenda did the USA really hurt, the integrationists or the sovereignists? Could it be that Putin owes his immense popularity, and Russia her success, at least in part to US sanctions?
The fundamental theory of deterrence hold that “deterrence is in the eye of the beholder”. In other words, I cannot assume that what would deter me would also deter you. In order to deter you I need to understand what your goals and values are. I submit that when the US elites decided to sanction Russia (putatively to deter her from further resisting the Empire) they made a fundamentally wrong assumption: that Russia was ruled by Atlantic Integrationist types who would be horrified and deterred. Instead, these sanctions ended being a blessing for the Eurasian Sovereignists who used these sanctions to paralyze the Atlantic Sovereignists, to push through much needed reforms and basically eliminate the pro-Western opposition. In so many ways Russia is still a mess and a struggling country, but thanks to US sanctions none of that will have any impact at all on the next Presidential elections in Russia and the Eurasian Sovereignists are more powerful than ever before. Thank you, Uncle Shmuel!
Possible Russian reactions:
Whatever the reasons for all this nonsense, this does beg some kind of reaction from Russia and I think that judging by all the similar situation in the recent past, the Russian reaction is fairly easy to predict.
First, there will be no grandiose gesture or loud hyperbolic statements out of the Kremlin. Putin jokingly deplored that his own name was no on the list, Peskov said that this was a hostile act, a few Russian Duma members canceled planned trip to the USA and Russian commentators expressed various degrees of dismay and disgust. But, all in all, this is very, very little. As usual, this will be completely misunderstood in the West where the culture is roughly “if your enemy slaps you in your face, you have to immediately slap him back lest you look weak“. In most of Asia (and the Middle-East, by the way), the norm is totally different: “if your enemy slaps you in the face you step back and plan how to bring him down in the long run because what matters is not the short-lived posturing, which can be even dangerous and counter-productive, but playing the long run and winning“. You could say that in the West the attention span and long-term planning is counted in days or weeks, while in Asia and the Middle-East it is counted in years and decades. So while there might not be anything particularly photogenic or quote-worthy coming out of the Kremlin, a few Russians did drop hints of what the Russian policy will be: “good luck to the Americans trying get anything major done on the planet without our support“. And just to make that point clear to those who can connect the dots, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, speaking on the Russian TV channel Rossiya One, declared that the Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, recently traveled to the USA and met with some high level US personalities (including, according to US sources, CIA Director Mike Pompeo). As Newsweek wrote, Naryshkin would be “the Russian spy chief behind 2016 election hacking campaign” which various nutcases even called an act of war. He is on the very top of all these sanctions list, but there he is, traveling inside the USA and meeting with top US officials. Why did Antonov leak this? Simply to show that for all the huffing and puffing and hyperbolic grandstanding from the USA, the reality is that the USA and Russia are still very much working together because they really cannot afford not doing so (as I write these words I got a link to a WaPo article now saying that Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and even Colonel-General Korobov, the head of the Main Directorate of the General Stuff (GU GSh), the military intelligence service (ex-GRU) also took part in this trip to the USA.)
So that is the real Russian message to the USA: you need us a heck of a lot more than we need you because you need to work with us or else you won’t get anything done, we are still willing to work with you, but if you go crazy then your global interests will suffer much more than our ours; for all your hot air, you have been working with us all along and if you go overboard with the nonsense we will first reveal the extend of our collaboration and, if that is not enough to cool you down, we will terminate it.
There is no doubt in my mind that for most inhabitants of the AngloZionist Empire the notion of the almighty USA needing the struggling (and economically comparatively small) Russia more than Russia needs the USA is laughable. These folks would say something like that: “what is the Russian share of the gross world product, how many aircraft carriers does Russia have and what is the Russian weight in international financial institutions? And how is your vodka-soaked Ruble doing anyway, buddy?!” The Russians wouldn’t reply much of anything, most would just smile in contempt and think something along the lines of “when is the last time you got anything successfully done, you dumb pompous ass“. That’s fundamentally fine since this message is really not destined to ideological drones but to those in power in the USA who are aware of the real scorecard of Uncle Sam and who realize that right now it is the Empire, not Russia, which is almost completely paralyzed, and isolated (oh irony!) on all levels.
https://southfront.org/saker-us-sanctio ... r-history/