Saturday, August 10, 2013

Could the latest 2+2 meeting finally yield some tangible results? Maybe.

I just watched the short press conference given today in Washington DC by U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Hagel, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Shoigu and I wondered what could come of that meeting.  The good news is that all of these men are experienced and smart politicians (compared to Hillary Kerry is simply a genius).  Furthermore, I doubt that these four would have agreed to sit down and negotiate together in such a powerful format (2+2) if there was clearly nothing to negotiate to begin with.  After all, these are all really powerful and busy folks and not politicians running in some silly campaign.  So the fact that they got together is, in itself, definitely a positive and encouraging sign.

The bad news is that that accursed US Congress and the various lobbies running it (Israel of course, but also quite a few others) have truly outdone themselves in trying to vitiate the atmosphere between Russia and the US.  Senile imbeciles like McCain or Bolton have basically convinced a good chunk of the US public opinion and press that any deal with Russia, no matter its scope or nature, is a sign of weakness if not an outright surrender to "that evil KGB agent Putin".  All the US hysterics about Snowden really only make sense in this context as in a normal non-ideological pragmatic world the entire Snowden saga would be "page 3 news" and not something to be discussed at a Ministerial or Presidential level.

Obama, Kerry and Hagel understand all that, but they are still willing to sit down with Lavrov and Hegel and this, I think, could indicate one of two things: either they are willing to press ahead regardless of the russophobic hysteria of the Republicans and Neocons, or they are looking for some kind of secret deal which both sides could deny.

Let me say immediately here that I am quite confident that the recent trip to Moscow by the Saudi intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was a complete failure.  Bandar tried to buy off Putin and it failed.  Predictable as this move was, I cannot blame the Saudis or the Americans for at least trying.  And, at least, the Americans got their Saudi poodle to present this humiliating offer on their behalf.  But now that this Kindergarten-level "diplomacy" is over, the real stuff must be tackled.

What is unclear to me is whether Putin at this moment in time feels powerful enough to being tightening some screws on the Americans or not.  What kind of screws?  Well, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is one option, but there are others.  The big unknown here is whether the covert anti-Putin opposition inside the Kremlin - what I refer to as the "Atlantic Integrationists" - and their allies in the West (big banking and NWO organizations) have been weakened enough for Putin to overtly put pressure on the USA.  Personally, I would not wager on that yet.  The good news here is that both Lavrov and Shoigu are 100% "Putinists" - what I refer to as "Eurasian sovereignists" - so they will fully support Putin's political stance.

And then there was this secret letter exchange between Obama and Putin.  Clearly, and even though the two man obviously hate each other, something of substance was discussed.

If I had to guess I would say that something is likely to come out of these negotiations.  Maybe a more or less symbolic and public deal combined with a second, and more substantial but secret and deniable deal.  What could that deal include?

Maybe that the US would refrain from any over the board actions in Syria in exchange for a Russia tacit support for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan?  Such a deal or, better, such an understanding could be easily denied by both parties (thus keeping the crazy Republicans at bay) while being to the advantage of everybody.

Do I sound too optimistic?

Well, let me ask you this: do you believe that the people who put Obama in power really want to overthrow Assad?  No, I am not talking about a bellicose bitch like Hillary (who "was resigned" and replaced by Kerry).  I am talking about the deep "old Anglo guard" which is the real power which selected Obama as President.  The Kissingers, the Bakers, the Rockefellers, the Bushes. etc.  All the folks who regardless of ethnicity or official party affiliation care much more about their American wealth than about the Likudniks in Israel.  Do they want Assad out?

Consider this: by now it is pretty darn clear to all that should the so-called "Syrian" (which it ain't) insurgency win, an al-Qaeda regime would come to power in Syria and that would be really bad news, no not for Russia or China, but for the USA.  Even the CIA says so.  And why would the US want to replace Assad who did such an excellent job torturing rendered CIA detainees for Uncle Sam anyway?

Sure, the Ziolobby wants wars everywhere.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Somalia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Iran and, of course, Syria.  And if the Ziolobby get's its way, no amount of 2+2 negotiations between Russia and the US will ever yield any result.  But the fact is that the Ziolobby does not control the White House at this time (if it did an attack on Iran would already have happened a while ago).

Now, of course, no US politician would ever commit the mother of all heresies and admit that the US and Israel might have different interests.  Hagel tried, a long time ago, and he paid hell for it.  So this is why Obama cannot openly step on the breaks with this war in Syria.  Officially, the US and its moronic EU allies are "in" to the hilt, such are the requirements of their ideology.  But I bet you that in their private deliberations they realize that the war on Syria looks much less than the war against Libya and much more like the war in Iraq, or even worse, the war in Somalia.

The absolutely undeniable fact remains that the plutocratic and imperialistic West is far better off dealing with a known and rational actor like Assad than with some al-Nusra version of Mullah Omar.  This, in turn, tells me that Washington might be better off letting the Russians "win" Syria then trying to overthrow Assad at all costs - assuming that it could do that, which I don't believe.  The facts on the ground seem to indicate that it is not Russia that "won" in Syria as much as it is the Syrian military which has created on the ground the conditions needed to convince the more rational part of the US power elites that now is the time to slowly and carefully walk away from this mess.

Just to make this clear: I know that this one is far from over and there is a good chance the the "crazies" in the USA will prevail and make any deal with Russia impossible.  And if, God forbid, the Hillary-types ever come back to power (I hear that she is probably going to run for President again!!), then all bets are off - and the bloodbath will resume at an even bigger scale.  My hope is that the rational folks in the US will manage to prevail against the "crazies" and allow an outcome which is really to everybody's advantage.

Do such rational people exist in the US power elites?  Absolutely.  Let me give you a little known but quite amazing example.

Several Russian sources, including Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin himself, have confirmed that when Georgia attacked South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers on 08.08.08 there had been an initial move of US military forces to provide direct military help, possibly including cruise missile strikes, to their Georgian allies.  What happened then is crucial: Russian military commanders directly contacted their US colleagues and told them in no uncertain terms that the US should stay out of this one or face a Russian military response.  Rogozin himself told the same thing to the NATO military commander in Brussels.  Basically, Russia threatened the US with war if the Americans directly intervened.  And the Americans backed down and withdrew.  No, not because the Americans are cowards or because they thought Russia would win - no, they did so simply because to persist was not worth the risk.  In 08.08.08 Russia simply could not back down: its soldiers had been attacked and killed and its vital security interests were involved.  In contrast, no vital or even important US national interest was affected by this war.  Needless to say, the likes of McCain, Bolton or Hillary are simply unable to think in such rational, pragmatic, political terms.  But even if, say, the "crazies" were in full control of the White House, there would still be the formidable power of the Joint Chiefs who would veto any irresponsible decision by a crazy President (at least so far, this seems to have been the case).

All this is to say that there are rational people in the US power elites and that, at least as far as I know, Kerry and Hegel are much closer to such pragmatists than loonies like Hillary or McCain.

To be an optimist, even a cautious one, is always a bad bet in international affairs.  Nor is it my natural inclination.  But I do want to believe that bringing such top quality people like Kerry, Hegel, Lavrov and Shoigu together is not done just to agree on nothing.  Nor is such an exercise needed when the agreement is easy and obvious.  No, you bring folks like that together when you want to get something tricky but very important done, when you want to make darn sure that all parties understand and agree to the terms of the understanding.

We will soon know.  Chances are I will be making my mea culpa here in just a few days.  But until then I will try to force myself to hope that the bloodbath in Syria can be gradually reduced.

One more thing: the negotiations over the US missile "defense" program (which should really be called the "US first strike enabling program") are going nowhere.  Even though Obama & Co. fully realize that this is just a handout to the US military-industrial complex, and that this program will do nothing to protect the USA or Europe, they will stubbornly stick to it.  First, this is an easy way to show McCain and the other "crazies" how "tough" the Democrats can be on Russia, but even more fundamentally this is a typical Obama move: his entire Presidency has been centered on giving billions of dollars to the banks, Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex, etc.  As for the Russians, they will not like it, but they can easily defeat its purpose by a few well chosen asymmetrical measures.  Everything is possible, I suppose, but I don't see any agreement between the two sides on this one.

Does anybody else want to hazard a guess on what will come out from these 2+2 talk?

The Saker