In his speech at the previous 69 UN General Assembly in September 2014, Barack Obama named three major threats to the world: Ebola, Russia, ISIS.
This time, Obama did not say anything like that. Noting that in Ukraine, Russia did worse for himself, he called it a partner in the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program and said it was ready to work together to stop the Syrian conflict.
In this sense, the intermediate task of Russian foreign policy can be considered fulfilled. The whole last year’s task was to change the order: let ISIS be the first, then, so be it, Russia, and then Ebola, because it is a shame to be harmless than the new African contagion. And it is better to let Russia fall out of the first three altogether.
“We propose to be guided not by ambitions, but by common values and common interests, on the basis of international law, to unite efforts ... and create a truly broad international antiterrorist coalition,” the Russian president addressed the meeting. “Like the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite in its ranks a variety of forces that will resolutely oppose those who, like the Nazis, sow evil and misanthropy.”
In the well-known Dovlatov's memoir, Genis and Weil, driving on the subway under the terrible Harlem with a bottle of whiskey on the floor and a smoking cigarette in their teeth, they came to the conclusion that they, two Russian writers, are the most terrible here. The current task of Russian diplomacy is to prove the opposite: the most terrible here and now is not us, but the others are ISIS.
In essence, Putin proposes to create a new anti-Hitler coalition — an alliance of powers with different values against the evil that is evident above the value barriers. He is even ready to accept in her the thankless role of the most difficult participant, the new Stalin, with whom only the presence of a common terrible threat is reconciled. But even in this role, the West is still hesitant to accept it.
Looking from Moscow, it is really difficult to understand why the West refuses to agree on the obvious: to admit that ISIS is worse, and to accept our offer to defeat it together. However, from the West this proposal does not look so obviously convincing.
It is very difficult for Western countries to become brothers by arms with Russia, until the war in eastern Ukraine is guaranteed to end. But, let's say, Ukraine will be forgotten, especially if ISIS continues to grow, and the refugees arrive, as it is now happening. After all, the recipe for reconciliation with the West is simple: peace in Ukraine and war somewhere else is one that we did not start, but we can help finish it.
Anyway, it is not easy for the West to accept the proposal of joint struggle against the “Islamic State”, when the main Russian propagandist compares American President Obama with ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, hardworking, as a structuralist philologist, builds a whole table of regular correspondences. The head of parliament, the fourth person in the state, calls Americans miserable clowns, the head of the Senate says that they spread the Middle Ages and barbarism.
It may seem to us that the statements of our propagandists and politicians for internal use - well, still understand everything? But, firstly, not always for the internal - some are addressed to Europeans and the third world: "You still have nothing, but the Americans are bad, all your troubles are from them, go to us better." We ourselves, if someone from Western politicians says something anti-Russian, are not ready to believe that this is for their own narrow circle: notice and publicly take offense.
Of course, in the case of an alliance against ISIS, we are ready to reduce the degree of confrontation, as Putin did in his UN speech. But after the victory, then, perhaps, everything can return - how many sparrows are stored in the bosom. So it happened after the victory.
There are irreplaceable
The main task of Putin’s speech is to define ISIS as an unconditional evil, the worst enemy of mankind and thus overcome the contradictions between the West and Russia, without in any way changing Russia itself. When the fascists were beaten together, no one forced Stalin to hold free elections, open independent newspapers or at least abolish socialist realism in art. Even the territorial acquisitions of the USSR accepted. The present Russia is not like civilized, freer and closer to the West than the Stalinist USSR. Why not take it?
We answer is unclear, but the West is clear. The USSR was indispensable for the victory over Hitler, but the West still does not consider Russia to be equally indispensable for the victory over ISIL.
It’s not so easy to prove right away that they are wrong. We keep in mind the Second World War, and they can recall the Afghan one with the same right. How is Russia going to fight with ISIS - how did it fight with Hitler on its territory or how with the mojaheds on a stranger? With what internal stress, how much will it give all the best? The quantitative presence of Russian manpower and equipment in Syria and the surrounding region, inflated by politicians and journalists, because the “Russians are coming” is insignificant compared to the western one. Several dozens of new airplanes and one precisely recorded combat departure — to the beginning of the General Assembly, to show the seriousness of intentions. Newsthat contract soldiers have already refused to go to Syria and are submitting such an order to their commanders at the military prosecutor’s office. Saving Damascus from massacre and plunder is a noble task that Americans don’t offer a clear solution, but where is the proof that Russian soldiers will stand for it to the last? Putin understands: Russia does not look irreplaceable here, and declares as such the Syrian government, for which Russian assistance is indispensable.
Miscellaneous to load
In addition, after joint beating, there is a draft section of the skin of a killed hydra and its further use. In the West, they are well aware that brothers in arms are discussing how to equip the saved world: how will the boundaries go, what spheres of influence will be and who will. In general, Orthodoxy, autocracy, multipolarity.
With the USSR, which was indispensable for the victory over Hitler, they were ready to discuss it, and with Russia, which does not seem so indispensable, until they are ready, they are thinking.
Turkey seems to be much more necessary for the victory over LIH to the West - it is somewhere nearby, it has already fought in those parts and continues, the Islamic State threatens it directly. And she and Russia have different goals. Russia wants to save Assad, and Turkey - to remove.
The main problem of the anti-Igilov coalition is that the participants start fighting with various backward thoughts in their heads. Everyone has to “break ISIS” - as in the Soviet grocery set - its own weight gain. We want to break ISIS, without changing ourselves, to make peace with the West and save Assad. Turkey wants to break ISIS, Assad and Kurds at the same time. Sunni monarchies of the Gulf - break ISIS, drive Shiites behind Mozhi, and at the same time make Syria and Iraq (especially Syria) more religious and Sunni states - stop the unnatural rule of secular dictators and heretics as inappropriate to the spiritual traditions of the Arab people. The Americans want to smash ISIS and overthrow Assad, but they absolutely do not want to smash the Kurds and Shiites, who now need to defeat ISIS no less than Turkey and the Gulf monarchies, and they do not want a religious state in Syria and Iraq. Europeans want to defeat ISIS and stop the invasion of refugees, while many in Europe no longer care about who will maintain order on the ground - some new government or a secular old-fashioned dictator like those who were overthrown by the “Arab spring”: the Egyptian al-Sisi all accepted. Officially, most European politicians for replacing Assad with something democratic and popularly elected, but unofficially, many are ready to consider options.
The West, the Arab monarchies and Turkey never want to save Assad - for them it is part of the problem, and for Russia and the Shiites, I would add Middle Eastern Christians who are not very much considered as allies because of their relative small number, it is part of the solution Problems.
Here begins the Western view, which is incomprehensible to us. It is quite difficult for Western politicians to sell Putin’s proposal to his own public opinion, voter, and press. How to explain why we are against some Islamists with other Islamists, among which, sometimes, headless al-Qaeda flashes with a drooping body, and when we overthrow Assad, who will rule Syria? It is much easier and clearer to sell to the voter the defense of Europe against Russia, especially after Russia confirmed some of the worst fears about itself.
Forgiveness and reward
The West is not sure that Russia is irreplaceable, but this does not mean that it considers it useless. Not the fact that carefully cutting out of international relations along the contour of Russia and its president, will be able to quickly cope with LIH, and peace in Ukraine will be stronger. Putin’s speech as a program for his own actions will not be accepted. But what they will try to negotiate at the meeting will be pondered seriously.
In the end, the idea that the reason for ISIL in Asad, which politicians, journalists and human rights organizations repeat, cannot even be convincing for them themselves: ISIS originated in Iraq, where there is no Assad, and from there came to Syria.
Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, at least in that it offers the West in its UN speeches, cannot be denied consistency. “Terrorism today represents a major danger to the rights and freedoms of mankind, the sustainable development of states and peoples. The UN and the Security Council should be the main coordinating center ... in the fight against terror as the ideological heir of Nazism. Russia intends to increase its participation both in the international crisis response and in promoting development and progress, ”he said in a speech at the 60, the jubilee UN General Assembly in 2005. “The threats and challenges that Russia faces are the common enemy of free nations. Terrorism is considered especially dangerous and insidious ... Putting a reliable barrier to this evil is our common task, ”this is from the speech of the still unfamiliar to the world of Putin at the General Assembly, the Millennium Summit in 2000. The style of speeches is different (the speechwriters have changed since then), but the central thesis remained. At first it was pronounced in the context of the Chechen war, then Beslan and 11 of September, now Ukraine and Syria.
General task data has not changed for many years, not from Putin’s time, but even from the end of Yeltsin’s time. Russia needs to prove that there are worse things in the world than she, and her all-beloved allies, for example, terrorists are worse.
When Vladimir Putin returned to power in 2011, it was not clear why. The answers from the time of the castling and the election campaign did not sound very convincing. Events in Ukraine helped to give a convincing answer: in order to protect their own people, to resist the previously unseen invasion of our historical space. This answer helped to find a place in national history in the spirit of the classical rulers of the past: he defeated enemies, expanded the borders of the state. But there is still world history.
Sooner or later - they say about the year 2018 - he leaves. I do not want to leave the destroyer of world order, who almost had to leave the post under external pressure, almost an outcast in the eyes of the West, but the creator of a coalition of people of goodwill, the winner of ISIS, the new Hitler. For the victory over LIH, if it happens, the world is ready to forgive a lot. It remains to convince us that we are irreplaceable in the camp of future winners.