Military Review

US plays Monopoly, Russia plays chess (Asia Times Online, Hong Kong)

US plays Monopoly, Russia plays chess (Asia Times Online, Hong Kong)Americans view individual geopolitical real estate objects in isolation, like hotels on the Monopoly board, while Russians pay attention to the interaction of all spheres of their interests around the world.

Syria in this regard does not represent a real strategic interest either for Russia or for anyone else. The ruined wreck of a country with an economy that has suffered irreparable damage, without energy, water, or food supplies to maintain long-term economic viability. The multi-ethnic jumble left at this place by British and French cartographers after World War I irreversibly rolled into a war of mutual extermination, the only result of which could be depopulation or a section on the Yugoslav model.

Syria is important only from the point of view of the threat of the expansion of its crisis into the adjacent territories of more strategic importance. Like the Petri dish for jihadist movements, it threatens to become a training base for a new generation of terrorists, playing the same role as Afghanistan played in the 1990 and 2000.

As a landfill for use weapons mass destruction, it provides a diplomatic laboratory to measure the reaction of world powers to inhuman actions - with a relatively small risk for participants. It is an incubator of national movements in which, for example, freedom of action, regained by the two million Kurds living in the country, is a means to destabilize Turkey and other countries with a significant Kurdish minority. And most importantly, as the arena of confessional war between Sunnis and Shiites, Syria can become a springboard for a wider conflict that encompasses Iraq and, possibly, other states of the region.

I do not know what Putin wants in Syria. I think that at the moment the Russian president does not know what he wants in Syria. A strong chess player, starting a game with a weaker opponent, creates positions that do not give an immediate strategic advantage in order to provoke mistakes from a partner and win an unplanned figure. Putin wants a lot. But most of all he wants one thing, namely, the restoration of the status of Russia as a great power. Russia's leading diplomatic role in Syria offers several options for achieving this goal.

As the world's largest energy supplier, Russia is seeking to strengthen its leverage on Western Europe, for which it is the main energy supplier. She wants to influence the sale of natural gas produced by Israel and other countries in the eastern Mediterranean. She wants to make other energy suppliers in the region dependent on her goodwill as regards the safety of their energy exports. She intends to expand her role as an arms merchant by challenging the American F-35 and F-22, among other things, with the help of her new stealth fighter “Dry” T-50. She wants freedom of action in the fight against terrorism among the Muslim minority in the Caucasus. And she wants to maintain influence in the so-called near abroad, in Central Asia.

American commentators with surprise, and in some cases with alarm, reacted to the emergence of Russia as an arbitrator in the Syrian crisis. Indeed, the growing role of Russia in this region was already evident when, in the first week of August, the chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar, flew to Moscow to meet with Putin.

The Russians and Saudis announced that they would work together to stabilize the new military government in Egypt, in direct opposition to the Obama administration. In fact, Russia offered to sell to Egypt any weapons that the United States refused to sell, and Saudi Arabia agreed to pay it.

This was a revolution in diplomacy, with no clear precedents. And not only because the Russians returned to Egypt after 40 years after they were expelled from there, in the context of a real world war; they did this in a tactical alliance with Saudi Arabia, Russia's historically sworn enemy in the region.

Although the Saudis and Russians have a number of obvious reasons for cooperation, for example, the control of jihadists in the Syrian opposition, we still do not understand all the consequences of bringing them closer together. The Saudis organized a leak of information that they offered to buy Russian weapons for $ 15 billion in exchange for Russia's refusal to support Assad. Such rumors should not be judged by their face value. They may be a disguise, but a disguise of what?

Putin's chessboard covers the whole world. It includes such things as the security of energy exports from the Persian Gulf, the transfer of gas and oil through Central Asia, the export market for Russian weapons, negotiations on energy supplies currently underway between Russia and China, the vulnerability of energy suppliers for Europe, and international stability for countries bordering or lying close to the Russian borders, including Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

For American analysts, much of this chessboard is similar to the far side of the moon. We see only what the Russians allow us to see. For example, Moscow first promised to deliver the C-300 missile system to Syria, and then withdrew its proposal. Saudi Arabia at the beginning of August allowed information to leak that it was ready to buy Russian weapons for 15 billion dollars in exchange for concessions on Syria. Some negotiations are underway, but we have no idea what kind of carrots and carrots can be used for.

What we can assume is that Russia now has much more opportunities to influence events in the Middle East, including the security of energy resources, than it has ever had since the Doomsday War 1973. At present, it is in the interests of Russia to support these uncertain divinations and expand the field of its future strategic options. Russia, in effect, shifted the burden of uncertainty to the rest of the world, especially to the leading economies dependent on energy exports from the Persian Gulf.

President Obama obviously considers this arrangement advantageous for his own political agenda. The president has nothing to do with the interests of strengthening America’s strategic position in the world; in his intentions, perhaps, to weaken them, what Norman Podgolets accused him of in the Wall Street Journal article published last week, and as I argued five years ago, Obama focused on the domestic political agenda.

From this point of view, the transfer of responsibility for the Syrian porridge is a risk-free move. The widespread American aversion to military intervention is so strong that the voter will welcome any steps that reduce America’s responsibility for foreign policy problems. Although the elite of the Democratic Party are liberal internationalists, Obama’s election base is hardly interesting for Syria.

Public commentary on foreign policy is an exercise in despair under the circumstances. Since America is a democracy, and for substantial investment of resources, at least, a certain degree of consensus is required, diplomacy was extremely transparent, while America dominated this field. Brain centers, academia and the media have served as a mouthpiece for any meaningful initiatives so that decisions made, at least in part, are made visible to the public. This is no longer the case of Vladimir Putin’s chessboard. Russia will build a series of strategic compromises, but what they consist of, we in the West will know, at best, after the fact, if ever we learn.

The difficulties of a different order will be related to the possible reaction of other promising players, in particular, China, but Japan should be included here. The reduction of American strategic positions undertaken by America itself eliminates for Russia restrictions on the choice of a specific option. On the contrary, Russia can accumulate positional advantages in order to use them for specific purposes when it is convenient for it. And Putin will sit quietly on his side of the chessboard, and the clock is ticking, working against his opponent.

Perhaps Putin thinks that he anticipates a similar strategy on the part of the West. Fyodor Lukyanov last March wrote in the online publication AI Monitor:

“From the point of view of the Russian leadership, the Iraq war now looks like the beginning of the accelerated destruction of regional and global security, undermining the latest principles of a sustainable world order. Everything that has happened since then - including flirting with the Islamists during the Arab Spring, the US policy in Libya, and its current policy in Syria - is evidence of the strategic insanity that gripped the last remaining superpower. ”

Russia's stubbornness in the Syrian issue is the result of such awareness. The question is not in sympathy for the Syrian dictator, not in commercial interests, not in the naval base in Tartus. Moscow is confident that if it is allowed to continue destroying secular authoritarian regimes because of America and the West supporting "democracy", this will lead to such destabilization that will overwhelm everything, including Russia. Consequently, for Russia, confrontation is a necessity, especially since the West and the United States themselves are experiencing increasing doubts.

Russians, as a rule, believe that Americans think the same way as they weigh each move and how it affects the overall position on the board. The fact that the overwhelming majority of moves on the part of Americans is explained by incompetence, and not by a conspiracy, is alien to Russian thinking. Whatever the Russian leader thinks, he keeps it to himself.

I have been writing articles on international politics for this 12 column for years, and I have nothing more to say. The Obama administration has given a strategic initiative to countries in which decision-making practices are hidden behind an impenetrable wall. Robert Frost’s lines come to mind:

And as for disaster,
Not worth the hassle -
Report to Belshazzar
About what is coming.

Or, as Robin Williams expressed in the old nightclub, his impression of the then President Jimmy Carter’s address on the brink of the Third World War: “That's all, good night, and then all by yourself, only yourself.”
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  1. My address
    My address 21 September 2013 07: 10
    I don’t understand the West with quirks about gays, juvenile justice, the Arab spring and so on. After all, they are not stupid, so why are they looking for adventure on their oppa? I have not yet reached the sixth from the bottom paragraph with the words of Lukyanov in the article, when the expression "Mind has gone beyond reason" came to mind. This is when they try to simultaneously implement opposite actions, and as a result, a stunning result. They know that they are opening Pandora's casket, but they believe that troubles will bypass them. Why bypassed? And because you want to be bypassed!
    1. Botanologist
      Botanologist 21 September 2013 15: 08
      A classic example, when Americans become hostages of their own propaganda. Said "a" - you will have to say "b", otherwise the voter will not understand. After all, you cannot explain that the "red line of Syria" was a frivolously voiced preparation of a small coup d'etat, and not a real major international naughty. Here and sausage.
      On the other hand - America 10 years ago could do any nonsense, the printing press allowed to cover any adventure. And today it’s worse, you have to shake your pockets.
      And I ask you to pay attention - this week the Fed announced that it is starting to print bucks again, pouring them into the economy. But they hoped that he would carry that they would unleash the war and blow up financial bubbles in it. Did not work out. Now again we increase debt and accelerate inflation. It seems like the last jerk.
      1. rolik
        rolik 21 September 2013 21: 43
        Quote: Botanologist
        . It seems like the last jerk.

        Babam said about a new crisis for the United States, that's about to begin. It was not possible to recapture money in Syria.
        1. Aryan
          Aryan 21 September 2013 23: 37
          well, who then plays the "fool"? what
    2. Geisenberg
      Geisenberg 22 September 2013 03: 27
      Quote: My address
      I do not understand the West with twists on gays, juvenile justice, the Arab spring, and more. ..

      All such analyzes have one feature - a dismissive, familiar attitude towards GDP, in the style of "what does this plebeian think of himself." another local political observer decided that he understood the policy of Putin, the bugog. over the hillock they were overgrown with fat and degraded to sodomy. what else to expect from them besides anger and aggression? use the fact that their main media and fool people. that's the whole west ...
    3. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 22 September 2013 12: 35
      Quote: My address
      They know that they open the casket of Pandora, but they believe that troubles will bypass them. Why get around? But because I want to get around!

      They don't know - they have been playing with the Islamists for decades, and some for centuries. The British pitted the Islamists against the Indians, Turks, French, Russians, and at the end of the twentieth century, the Americans successfully, with the help of China, created a movement that fought with the Soviet contingent in Afghanistan. They do not know the fear that your family and friends may be hit by insane terrorists - and this is their weakness. Mb, sooner or later, "gin" will return to its creators. The main thing is that on the way he does not "come" to us - so there are his "iblis". But this is already the task of the competent structures.
  2. andrei332809
    andrei332809 21 September 2013 07: 20
    Because America is a democracy

    in how. amers themselves told the author?
  3. borisjdin1957
    borisjdin1957 21 September 2013 07: 32
    from the Don.
    GDP, this is not EBN !! And we invite Baran to our gypsy camp for fortune telling !!!
  4. Valery Neonov
    Valery Neonov 21 September 2013 07: 54
    Strange ...-"Syria in this respect is of no real strategic interest either to Russia or to anyone else."and a little lower:"Syria is important only from the point of view of the threat of expansion of its crisis to adjacent territories of more strategic importance."- how to decide ... and ... recourse
    Soon I will have to play "Chapaya" if this "fuse" is not extinguished ... hi So the GDP knows what it is doing!
  5. major071
    major071 21 September 2013 08: 10
    The article is a big plus.
    America has played in its der.mocracy, it is high time to understand that on the chessboard of the world it is no longer a king or a queen, pawns (as the United States sees them) have long begun their campaign for the crown. The new player cannot see beyond three moves. Mat in three moves did not work. And then how to play? Rearrange the figures thoughtlessly, hoping that in the end there will be a mat? It may work if a player like you is against you. But let's hope that on our side of the board there really is, though not a grandmaster, but the player is a drop dead good player of an international level.
    1. 77bob1973
      77bob1973 21 September 2013 08: 26
      The article is Jewish propaganda. Russia is a monster, Russia is everywhere, escape, the Russians are coming! Bullshit.
  6. andruha70
    andruha70 21 September 2013 08: 47
    USA plays Monopoly, Russia plays chess
    oh yes Spengler, oh yes well done! six words, deduced the essence of the geopolitics of west and east good
  7. pensioner
    pensioner 21 September 2013 09: 25
    And what ... It’s quite a sensible article. Not all the author’s revolutions I understood the truth, but this is a usual condition for me when reading translated articles. Russia has become a full participant in the settlement of international problems. With its firm position, with its principles. The first successes appeared in this field ... They began to reckon with Russia! And how do you remember the 90s, when you really didn’t just wipe your feet about Russia ... You can ask someone else during those shameful years, you can ... And the graves of those who can’t be evened out with tractors, you can leave a monument to ebony for edification to descendants, and the people themselves, in a fit of inescapable feelings experienced by ebony, will quickly turn into SOMETHING.
    1. My address
      My address 21 September 2013 11: 17
      Yuri! Hello!
      And in Eburg, the EBN monument has already turned into this. They are guarded. From "ardent feelings of fans". In the form of paint, destruction and obscene, but true expressions of will!
      1. pensioner
        pensioner 21 September 2013 11: 23
        Hello Alexander! Yes, I have the good fortune to see it sometimes. Once passed by when he was scrubbed ...
        1. My address
          My address 21 September 2013 11: 33
          And I saw how the guards at the beginning of the 80-x carried it out alive and wiped it in parallel. That drunk does not matter, the trouble when it turned out that the barrel.
      2. major071
        major071 21 September 2013 11: 36
        Soon they’ll put the tagged somewhere. With the same consequences. crying
  8. Conqwestor
    Conqwestor 21 September 2013 10: 04
    17 th
    Putin: Pre-ed Bandarcheg! How are you? laughing
    1. major071
      major071 21 September 2013 11: 38
      Sir, did you happen to make a mistake on the site?
      1. rolik
        rolik 21 September 2013 21: 45
        Quote: major071
        Sir, did you happen to make a mistake on the site?

        The dude mixed up the tablets for the tube, or instead of aspirin, what other wheels swallowed. And ??? chuuuuvaaak ???
    2. Jogan-xnumx
      Jogan-xnumx 21 September 2013 14: 03
      What, there are not enough fences with gateways for slaughter ??? fool
  9. Ivanovich47
    Ivanovich47 21 September 2013 13: 18
    Quote: Everything that has happened since then - including flirting with the Islamists during the Arab Spring, US policy in Libya, and its current policy in Syria - evidence of strategic insanity
    Indeed, all previous wars (Korea, Vietnam, partly Afghanistan) were unleashed under far-fetched pretexts (as always with the Americans), but they had some kind of logical form. The actions of the Yankees in Iraq, Egypt, Libya. and now in Syria, do not lend themselves to logical reflection. To the question: why is this needed? Why America needs chaos in the Arab world, the answer cannot be found. Egypt is especially indicative in this respect. The US ally, Mubarak, was in power. As a result of the Arab Spring, he was overthrown. Egypt has become a seething cauldron of political struggle. If you ask American politicians the question: why did you do this? We will not get an intelligible answer. Well, except for the mumble about "democracy". There is only one conclusion: American politics is becoming archaeological. What kind of chess is there
  10. wax
    wax 21 September 2013 13: 36
    The best thing about the article is the title. But the content is nothing, albeit with a pro-Western darling.
    1. Igor39
      Igor39 21 September 2013 17: 50
      I believe that the author translated the article well and expressed its meaning: Russians want to be reckoned with, Russians do everything to reckon with them. And they reckon with us and will be reckoned with.
  11. shurup
    shurup 21 September 2013 13: 39
    I, too, can hold a simultaneous game with two world champions, provided that I will play in different colors, but they will not know about it.
    The media will call me one of the great chess players of the world, but not for long.
    A similar case is described by O. Henry.
    If the enemy praises you - look for a catch, somewhere you gave slack.
  12. Jogan-xnumx
    Jogan-xnumx 21 September 2013 14: 09
    As in my opinion - it stinks of a sneak coupled with shallowness. negative
  13. bif
    bif 21 September 2013 19: 55
    Saudi Arabia in early August allowed information to leak that it was ready to buy Russian weapons for 15 billion dollars in exchange for concessions in Syria. Some negotiations are underway, but we have no idea what kind of carrots and sticks can be used. There is no secret, dildos have been proposed for Saudi Arabia ... in bulk.
  14. Yuri Y.
    Yuri Y. 21 September 2013 22: 45
    Quote: Ivanovich47
    If you ask American politicians the question: why did you do this? We will not get an intelligible answer. Well, except for the mumble about "democracy".

    I personally don't see any logic either. The only thing if you associate With the national Jewish policy. They will say again, "Well, as always, the Jews are to blame again." Although they went to Moscow with the Saudis attached.
  15. Current 72
    Current 72 22 September 2013 00: 45
    "Holy Democracy" has received a huge crack, from which the ship of the "Holy Democracy" can collapse and sink. That is why comparisons of who is playing what, various speculations and judgments began.
    1. Den33
      Den33 22 September 2013 04: 23
      You're right!!! In one word "democracy"
  16. Hitrovan07
    Hitrovan07 22 September 2013 16: 31
    The current West is a screen (wings), but the game begins to bring shadow figures to the light. It became very interesting to me when a certain English lord spoke about Russia and kindergarten games. smile
  17. poquello
    poquello 22 September 2013 23: 24
    Undoubtedly, saber-rattling is an American strategic madness, only do not fight and the external trillion debts will not go anywhere. It is time for the Americans to calm down and draw up a plan for paying off external debt, rather than trying to get off the hook.
  18. timer
    timer 22 September 2013 23: 35
    The article is efficient, the title is correct. The Americans, as always, want to solve their problems at the expense of a small victorious adventure. But the gesheft did not work out - Russia intervened. I think that it is necessary to suppress them systematically strengthening the influence of such centers of power as the BRICS, SCO. This will allow Russia to kill two birds with one stone - its influence in these centers to strengthen and push amerikosov with theirs "democracy" on the sidelines of world politics.
  19. slacker
    slacker 23 September 2013 16: 43
    The Americans entered the stage of degeneration. It will last a long time, but the end will be sad for them.