Thursday, April 3, 2014

A new Cold War has begun - let us embrace it with relief!

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A joke told for the first time on Russian TV has become particularly popular these days.  It goes like this: Barack Obama boycotted the Olympics and did not attend the games in Sochi - and we brilliantly won and the Olympics and Para-Olympics. Thank you, Comrade Obama!
Obama then strongly supported extremists Kiev junta - and we miraculously regained Crimea. Thank you, Comrade Obama!
Obama imposed sanctions on our oligarchs - and now their money is not in the West but in Russia. Thank you, Comrade Obama! Now, if we may, we have more wish: we would like to win the World Soccer Cup...

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A new Cold War has begun - let us embrace it with relief!
By The Saker
Apr 3, 2014 - 3:17:17 AM

A new Cold War has begun - let us embrace it with relief!

Considering the relative lull which seems to be taking place in the Ukraine, this might be a good time to look at the impact which the dramatic developments in the Ukraine have had upon the internal political scene in Russia and what that, in turn, could mean for the international (dis)order.  In order to do that, I would like to begin by a short summary of a thesis which I have already mentioned in the past (for a discussion please see here, here, here and here):

Setting the Russian part of the stage


There is no real Parliamentary opposition in Russia.  Oh, not at all because "Putin is a dictator" or because "Russia is not a democracy", but simply because Putin has brilliantly managed to either co-opt or defang any opposition.  How? By ...
 
Setting the Ukrainian part of the stage
 
The Eurobureaucrats and Uncle Sam come waltzing in
 
The view from Moscow

The first thing to say here is that Putin's popularity with the Russian public has soared to new heights: it currently stands at 71.6% and that even though there has been little progress on the anti-corruption front, no progress at all in the much needed reform of the judicial system and with a Russian economy going through some difficult times. Still, regardless of many unsolved problems facing Russia - Putin is currently simply impossible to attack as he has positioned himself as the man who saved Crimea and, possible, even Russia (more about that below).


The second dramatic effect of the events in the Ukraine is that is has further polarized the Russia society.  I am not saying that this is fair, but the fact is that Russian politicians now have two choices.  They can position themselves either as:


1) True Russian patriots who support Putin, support the reintegration of Crimea, support the Russian policy of standing up to the West or,


2) Russian "liberals", who are russophobic, bought and paid for by the US, who are nothing more than a 5th column (Putin used this term), pro-capitalist, pro-NATO and even pro-Nazi (remember, the West does now openly support Nazis in the Ukraine!).


Needless to say, all the Russian politicians scrambled over each other to show that they firmly belonged to Group One.  Even Sergei Mironov, the head of the "Just Russia" Party and last "real" opposition leader inside the Duma, took the lead in helping Crimea (which got him on the US and EU sanctions list).  Those who failed to do so are now dead meat.


It now has become extremely easy for Putin to fire anybody on the grounds that this person is not effectively implementing the President's decisions. Now everybody knows that and every single Atlantic Integrationist now runs the risk of being summarily dismissed. In truth, it must be said that Barak Obama has helped Putin immensely and that thanks for the truly insane US policy on the Ukraine the position of the (generally pro-US) Atlantic Integrationists has been undermined for many years to come.

A joke told for the first time on Russian TV by, of all people, the spokesman of the Russian Investigative Committee (a "Russian FBI" one could say), not exactly somebody noted for his humor, has become particularly popular these days.  It goes like this:


Barack Obama boycotted the Olympics and did not attend the games in Sochi - and we brilliantly won and the Olympics and Para-Olympics. Thank you, Comrade Obama!
Obama then strongly supported extremists Kiev junta - and we miraculously regained Crimea. Thank you, Comrade Obama!
Obama imposed sanctions on our oligarchs - and now their money is not in the West but in Russia. Thank you, Comrade Obama!
Now, if we may, we have more wish: we would like to win the World Soccer Cup...
Jokes aside, there is much truth to this joke - the more the USA is trying to maximize the stakes and beat back Russia, the stronger Russia becomes and the stronger Putin becomes in Russia.
As for the poor few pro-US activists left in Russia, they are truly in a desperate situation: for years they had to fight off accusations of being associated with the horrors of the Eltsin regime in the 1990s and now, to this terrible legacy, they can add the new burden of having to fight off accusations of being "pro-Banderastan".  Frankly, they all might as well all pack and leave for the West, as in Russia they are finished.

And that is good news for everybody.

For better or for worse, Russia is objectively the undisputed leader of the world resistance to the AngloZionist Empire.  Yes, the Chinese economy is much bigger, but China's military is not, and China is heavily dependent on Russia for energy, weapons and high-tech. I do think that China will inevitably take the lead in the struggle against the AngoZionist Empire, but this is still not the case today: China needs more time.  Iran is most definitely the oldest and first country to dare to openly defy the AngloZionists (along with Cuba and the DPRK, but those are really weak), but Iran's ambitions are primarily regional (which, by the way, is a sign of wisdom on the part of the Iranian leadership). As for Hezbollah it is, in my opinion, the moral leader of the worldwide Resistance, not only by its truly phenomenal military achievements, but primarily by its willingness to stand completely alone, if needed. But being a moral beacon does not mean being able to globally challenge the Empire.  Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah form what I would call, to paraphrase Dubya,  the "Axis of Resistance to Empire" and Russia plays the key role inside this informal but strong alliance.


Conclusion

A New Cold war has been in the making since the very day the previous Cold War officially ended.  Thus, we can only welcome the new reality introduced by the crisis in the Ukraine: Russia has now openly accepted the US challenge and all the pretenses of some kind of US-Russian strategic partnership are long gone. As for the EU, its role has been so shameful and disgraceful that Russia will treat it exactly as it deserves to be: a thoroughly submissive US protectorate with no policy or opinion of its own.  Now that the pretense of "partnership" is finally being dropped, we can expect a much more assertive, if not confrontational, Russia on the international scene. Of course, I don't mean that Putin will start banging his shoe at the UN like (allegedly) Krushchev did, nor will Putin threaten to "bury" the West - Putin, Lavrov and Churkin are real statesmen and diplomats, and they will remain impeccably courteous - but you can expect many more "no" votes at the UN and many "we are so sorry" on many bilateral issues.


The big beneficiary of this new Cold War will be Iran, of course, but also China.  Not only will Iran and China probably get the weapons they have been wanting so badly (S-300 and Su-35 respectively), China will get some very sweet deals on Russian energy prices (the Chinese are definitely smart enough to use this new situation without overplaying their hand - they will do it "just right").  Syria and Hezbollah will get more money, more weapons and more political support.  Countries aspiring to eventually become members of the "Axis of Resistance to Empire" will get more financial and political aid (Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and, especially, Venezuela need all the help they can get) as will more or less pragmatic countries who did not fully sell out to the USA (the BRICS of course, but also smaller countries such as Argentina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all the others who abstained at the infamous UN vote recently). One should also not underestimate the assistance China can render to these countries or all the benefits these countries can reap from cooperating with the other BRICS countries

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