The idea of forcing Bashar Assad to give up chemical stocks weaponswhich unexpectedly lit up the Russian diplomats, already at the next moment it seemed to everyone almost taken for granted. “Brilliant improvisation, which shows that Moscow is regaining influence on the world stage and again can conduct a dialogue with the United States on an equal footing”, - this is how the Russian initiative was commented in the world media. Indeed, no one has seen such a strong and decisive policy that Russia demonstrates in the Syrian issue since the pre-perestroika times. Instead of gaining the trust of Western partners at the cost of abandoning their own principles, President Putin was able to show character and defend his own vision of the problem.
“In Syria, Putin and the American people were the two main players,” said Thomas Friedman in The New York Times, “which was impossible to predict, but with enormous long-term consequences.” “Putin won,” the New Yorker columnist said, “because unlike other world leaders, he knows exactly what he wants and what he is ready to do to achieve his goal.”
"Russia does not play giveaway"
“He fulfilled his main task,” said Dmitry Simes, President of the Center for National Interests, however, showed that Russia is a great power and its preferences cannot be ignored. He made it clear that from the Russian point of view, the use of force is unacceptable without the sanction of the UN Security Council and will be perceived as an act of aggression. Obviously, Russia will not play more in giveaway. And so, for the West, Putin is an uncomfortable leader. But he is a serious and significant leader, and in Washington almost everyone understands this. ”
Although many representatives of the American establishment, accustomed to meeting the submissive views of Russian officials, who only think about how to demonstrate their loyal feelings towards Washington, Putin’s independence is annoying. When, in his article published in the New York Times, the Russian leader questioned the concept of US exclusivity, many American politicians mistook it.
In this sense, the letter of four influential US senators - Republicans John Cornine and Kelly Ayotte and Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Jean Shahin, who called on the US administration to impose sanctions against large Russian banks: VEB, VTB and Gazprombank deserves attention. The main share in the share capital of these banks belongs to the state, and, according to some experts, in fact, we are talking about the declaration of economic war against Russia. Senators claim that these banks allegedly violated the sanctions imposed by the US, EU and UN against Syria, helping Damascus pay for C-300 missile systems and refusing to freeze the personal assets of President Bashar Al-Assad. However, it should be recalled that the UN did not introduce any anti-Syrian sanctions. As for the US and the EU, it is not entirely clear why Russia should follow their decisions. After all, it is not an American colony and does not even think about integration with the European Union.
It is clear that the initiative of the senators is an attempt to take revenge for the painful defeat in the Syrian issue. And probably, first of all, it is explained by the wounded pride of the Americans, deeply affected by the mentoring tone of the Russian president, who did not deny himself the pleasure of inserting the pin on the reboot partners after he outplayed them in the diplomatic arena. “Putin’s little worried about the opinion of the right Republicans, because he’s not going to take part in the fight for the White House,” says Symes. - The Russian leader just wanted to explain his position on Syria, talk about the foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation and express some thoughts about the philosophy of American exclusivity. And he coped brilliantly with this task. Of course, this could not cause universal approval in the United States, because he stroked many people against wool. ”
American Scipio: On Senator McCain's Manic Ideas
One of those who clearly does not like being “petted against a hair coat” was an American senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. On that day, when Putin spoke at the Valdai Forum, he published his column on Pravda.ru, which was conceived as an answer to the article of the Russian president (the senator seriously believes that Pravda remains the most influential and popular publication in Russia ). “We see a nervous reaction from the part of the American establishment that Russia is again gaining influence in the world,” said Piotr Dutkevich, member of the Valdai Club Advisory Council, “It irritates many in Washington that President Putin has raised his prestige in the international arena and irritation slips into every phrase of Mr. McCain. " The senator, in fact, did not respond to Putin’s theses, as outlined in an article in the New York Times. “He did not say a word about the so-called“ American exclusivity ”- which forms the basis of the official ideology of the United States, and which Barack Obama remembered again in his address to the nation,” says Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee. “But this concept, not only in Russia, but throughout the world, raises legitimate questions: does one nation have the right to call itself exclusive in relation to other nations?” Does one country have the right to declare its a priori superiority over other countries? And does the self-proclaimed “American exclusivity” give the US exclusive rights on the world stage? ”
John McCain never gave the impression of being a balanced person, and after losing the 2008 presidential election, he finally lost touch with reality. The idea of a fix for him is now the fight against the “Kremlin autocracy,” and President Putin, to whom McCain for some reason turns his attention, causes the old senator to simply manic hatred. The main idea of McCain - Russia deserves better power. “Probably - that is, not probably, but for sure - Russia deserves a better-quality government,” Putin retorted at a meeting of the Valdai Club. “But is there such ideal power in other countries, including the one that Mr. McCain represents?”
The coming confrontation with Russia, the American hawks have already dubbed the "third Punic War." The first is, of course, the “big game” waged by the Russian and British empires in the nineteenth century, the second is the “cold war” between the United States and the USSR, which embraced most of the twentieth century. And finally, the decisive third battle, in which the United States and other heirs of Rome must destroy Russian Carthage. And the role of modern Scipio, apparently, went to Senator McCain, who comes from a noble patrician family and suffered during the “Second Punic War” (he was shot down by a Soviet pilot and spent several years in Vietnamese captivity).
The psychological factor
It should be noted that diplomatic success did not turn the head of the representatives of the Russian political elite. "History made us vaccinated against excessive grandeur, - said Alexei Pushkov in an interview with "However", - and we take things far more rationally than the Americans, who call themselves an "exclusive nation" and are confident of their complete permissiveness. Moscow understands that the Russian initiative on Syria is a great success of our diplomacy, the personal success of Vladimir Putin, who dealt with the Syrian issue very substantively. But we are not going to proclaim ourselves the saviors of the world. Western politicians, on the contrary, are characterized by a distorted perception of reality, triumphalism and ideological narrow-mindedness. ”
Back in early August, Obama quipped that at the recent meetings of world leaders, Vladimir Putin "had the bored look of a bad student in the back row." A month later, he had to bite his tongue and even utter words of gratitude to the Russian president. Touchy, narcissistic leader of the United States, who hates when someone puts his weak-willed weak-willed, obviously will not forget this moment. And those two years that he has yet to spend in the White House, will devote to settling accounts with Putin, who so easily and naturally managed to beat him, temporarily taking the place of the main character on the world stage. For star-suffering Obama, this is a real blow. “Despite the fact that many are now talking about a successful resolution of the Syrian crisis, in reality the situation has only become complicated,” writes The American Thinker, “and the main problem here is not even in the geopolitical confrontation of the“ great powers ”, but in the psychology of the leaders. Obama is used to acting as the ruler of New Rome and will not tolerate competition. He has a narcissistic personality type. Recall his pursed lips, crossed arms, offended naughty facial expression. American presidents have never looked like this - it looks more like stubborn youths and newly minted provincial teachers. And most likely, we will see how he will scold the careless student of Putin, who dared to challenge him. ”
As for the Russian president, in contrast to Obama who is reflective on any occasion, he was always confident in his own abilities, but now he clearly felt himself on the crest of a wave. “At the Valdai Forum,” says Dutkevich, “we saw a“ renewed ”Putin, a man who perfectly controls the public and holds all the threads in his hands. “He looked like a leader, confident in himself,” Sims echoed him, “firmly knowing what he wants and does not want, a politician who feels confident enough to show flexibility, compromise and avoid personalities, even dealing with representatives of the irreconcilable opposition. "
But it's not just the leaders psychology. Much more important are conceptual differences in approaches to world order that exist between Russia and the United States. Western countries, constantly issuing a verdict on the "legitimacy" of a particular regime, radically change the usual pattern of relations between recognized states and separatist movements. Russia is trying to defend the status quo, perceiving Western crusades as a threat to the Yalta-Podstamsky system, in the formation of which the Soviet Union played a leading role at that time (after all, the USSR, not the Anglo-Saxon countries, insisted that “The sovereignty, territorial integrity of each state, non-interference in internal affairs and respect for the rights of the people to elect their own social system”). Modern Russia perceives an attempt on these principles as a challenge, a kind of invitation to a duel. And if in the era of Primakov, the arguments about a multipolar world order seemed meaningless spells, which no one took seriously, now they are listening to the voice of Russia.
Speaking at the Valdai Forum, the President noted that our country has traditionally fought for the stability of the world system, recalling that both the Vienna Conventions 1815 of the Year and the Yalta Agreements 1945 of the Year, in which Russia played a key role, ensured a long peace in Europe. Whereas the Versailles Treaty, concluded after the First World War without Russia's participation, in many respects became the cause of a new global conflict. Putin made it clear that even now Moscow does not consider the threat of the use of force a panacea for all ills and is ready to offer an alternative to the American model of the world order.
Moscow assumes the traditional role of protecting the system of collective security and the principles of international law. The Russian leader has repeatedly reminded the Western powers that in the European Union, since 90, a document has been in place prohibiting the supply of weapons to conflict zones. “Democratic partners”, who stand up for the “rule of law”, only brush it off and continue to supply the Syrian rebels with modern weapons. However, Putin’s position is understood among lawyers and human rights defenders who are forced to admit that Russia, for the umpteenth time in its history, is the only power defending existing international agreements.
In addition, the Russian president warns the United States against using radical Islam for their political purposes (in history, by the way, this is not the first case of such a risky strategy of the Anglo-Saxon powers). “Now you will help radical Islamists to come to power, and then what will you do? - Putin has addressed to the western partners, speaking in Valdai. “Take a newspaper and drive them away from this power?”
Another important element of “soft power” of Russia on the world stage is opposition to politically correct concepts, which in the West are brought to the grotesque. Recently, China and Muslim countries perceive Moscow as a center of power, which, in contrast to the United States, upholds traditional moral values. In Western countries, as Putin noted, the excesses of political correctness reach the point that politicians talk about registering parties aiming at promoting pedophilia and actively advocate lifting restrictions on same-sex marriage. Russia, on the contrary, opposes the wave of homophilia, and this attracts the sympathy of those people who do not want the destruction of traditional institutions.
In Valdai, Putin proclaimed that "the sovereignty, independence and integrity of Russia are those red lines beyond which no one can enter." However, according to Dmitry Symes, “having drawn these lines, the president made it clear that he was ready for a dialogue with the Americans, if, of course, they themselves are capable of hearing someone else’s point of view.”
The question is, can they? Or the irritation associated with the need for once and for all to negotiate conditions, and not dictate them, will spill out into a new ultimatum? It is clear that the transfer of chemical weapons under international control - even in peaceful conditions - is not an easy operation. What can we say about the period of a fierce civil war. The temptation to provoke another shock is very great. And in the case of a provocation, fear of appearing incompetent, most likely, will push President Obama to an impulsive reaction: any failure or hitch with the implementation of the plan (and they are inevitable) can be immediately interpreted as a reason for the invasion of Syria.
No less serious knot of contradictions is Iran. If the United States is cool about the initiative of the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who spoke this week on the pages of The Washington Post to build bridges with America, Tehran will, of course, strengthen the position of opponents of dialogue with the West. And since Russia makes it unequivocally clear that it is ready to renew the strategic partnership with the Islamic Republic, finally fulfilling its obligations under the C-300 air defense system, it is possible that, following the Syrian crisis, the Iranian and great powers will follow. in the Middle Eastern religious wars, will steadily be drawn into the maelstrom of global conflict.