Associate Professor Hristov, what is the result for international politics from the meeting between Obama and Putin in New York?
The results of this meeting are yet to emerge. Diplomacy has a visible side and a hidden side. The visible program is unreal and the hidden is real. We know that at the meeting between Obama and Putin there were not allowed any journalists and the meeting was basically generic, but we can already see some results whose details were negotiated at this meeting. I connect the change of policy of Russia in Syria, and the United States in Syria and Ukraine with the strange visit of Kerry in Sochi earlier this year when he met with Putin and Lavrov. Since that meeting, there began the process of freezing the conflict in Ukraine and unblocking Russian movement in the southeast, meaning Syria. I think the meeting in New York highlighted several things. It seems that a new power triangle is taking shape which will determine the future of the world. It maps out as the US, Russia and China. Obviously, the interaction between these three forces will determine the configuration of relationships in the first half of the XXI century. On the other hand clearly stated is that Russia is back on the big international stage. In that sense this country, despite the desire of many Russophobes, demonstrated that it’s not a regional nation, but a world power. It seems that the parameters of interaction in the Middle East have been agreed to in practical terms. What I suspect is on the agenda now, is the separation of Syria into a Russian and American zone of influence.
What will be the role of Russia henceforth in its relations with countries like China and Iran? How Russia will be highlighted in the geopolitical game?
The Ukrainian crisis was only the catalyst for some long lasting processes of emancipation of Russia, but also emancipation of China and other regional powers such as India and Iran. The end result (of American action) was the classic scheme – instead of gouging eyes, they painted eyebrows. The Ukrainian crisis catalyzed the painful withdrawal of Russia from the fatal pro-Western course, which it’s elites led . In the Western project Russia has a place only as a raw material donor. And those are the “kindest” plans, which the West has in store for Russia. These plans however fundamentally contradict the sovereign character of this great nation and civilization. Russia stated that it has a red line. That red line was crossed by the coup in Kiev, i.e. created was an attempt at a geopolitical coup. That is what happened in Ukraine. Invaded was literally the backyard of Russia, which obviously can not be left without consequences. Currently there is a geopolitical trajectory of the spring in the opposite direction. Some people often ask the question, what is the relationship between Ukraine and Russia. This relationship is actually very direct. Let’s not forget that Russia first revealed attempts at emancipation in the Syrian crisis in the summer of 2013. Just then, there was preparation for the invasion of Syria. But Russia for the first time openly declared that it would defend its geopolitical ally (Assad) by all means, including military means. Exactly this ceased the attempts of a direct US invasion in Syria. The counter-strike was the winter coup in Kiev in 2014. Currently we have a second act to the drama. In the third act of the drama we’ll see to what level Russia will be able to preserve it’s geopolitical ally in the Middle East (Syria). Second, how far will go, the agreement with the US to comply with some kind of zones of influence in eastern Syria and western Iraq. And third – emerging is a tactical alliance between Russia and Iran in the Middle East theater. It seems that Russia relies on the Shiite factor at the moment, because we see indirectly the influence of this factor in Yemen.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Iranian leader Hassan Rohani and Russian President Vladimir Putin created in New York an atmosphere that placed in doubt the entire world order defined under the global leadership of the USA.
America has never been an absolute hegemon. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union. Rather what is displayed is the desire for a certain reality and this is part of the propaganda clichés of the western project. They wanted it to happen. This is called wishful thinking, i.e. we imagine what we want to be a reality. It is clear that these forces are undergoing a process of emancipation and are doing it in a different way. The rise of China as a great economic, military and geopolitical power emerged after the attempt of the United States to play out the Chinese card back in 1971, with the visit of Kissinger in Beijing. The Chinese economic miracle occurred thanks to America – geopolitically, militarily, but mostly economically. It is a product of the conscious interest and path taken by the Chinese elite in the face of Deng Xiaoping and his supporters. This purely Chinese path came in line with US interests, i.e. the geopolitical task of the United States to create a counterweight to the Soviet Union through China. To a considerable extent they succeeded, but this is not only a product of US strategy.
On the other hand, after the monstrous 90s for Russia, when the country was on the brink of collapse, it began withdrawal from the abyss, with the Second Chechen War. Slowly, with great difficulty, with contradictions and with a lot of criticism in terms of the team of Putin and generally the behavior of the country. Russia is still a raw material donor nation to a significant level, but it should not be forgotten that Russia carries out an accelerated process of emancipation of it’s economy, which is really is going through difficult times, but the effect of the sanctions was not as strong as expected. Some thought that using the tools of Reagan in the 80s, meaning a combination of low oil prices, combined with the induction of internal tensions, would finish Russia off. That did not happen.
The third part of the equation is the regional player Iran. It is clear that Iran will play an increasingly significant role in the Middle East. The country went through several attempts to overthrow the regime, which failed. Obviously, the US is trying to balance out a complex triangle of relations between Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. And Syria was the unlucky polygon where these complex relationships played out. The Syrian drama came from the fact that through it’s territory was supposed to pass one of the largest gas projects for gas transportation from the deposit “South Pars” in the Persian Gulf. The aim was Qatari-Saudi domination of the European gas market to reduce the role of “Gazprom” there. Assad refused this gas route, despite solid Turkish-Saudi-Qatari pressure. Then he was served with “spontaneous” popular revolution by the rules used later in Kiev. And all this in a country that was a model of peaceful co-existence of different religions. Unfortunately, currently in Syria there remains only a bloody shadow of the prosperous society that existed 5-6 years ago.
Despite everything, what is the hope for Syria?
“Islamic State” is obviously a geopolitical project for crushing Iranian and Russian allies in the region. After it was discovered that the so called “moderate” opposition is a military dwarf, on the field were placed the cutthroats from “Islamic state” who have nothing in common with the local people of Iraq or those of Syria. It’s an issue of “dogs of war” in the literal sense – jihadists who are trained, armed and supported by whom – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. The aim was to crush the regime in Damascus. They were very close to achieving that, this summer. The pressure for “Islamic State” to get to the sea was very strong. This offensive was a combination of a double blitzkrieg: on the one hand militarily in Syria, and on the other politically, with the active undertaking “refugees” which Turkey carried out before our eyes to test the backbone of Europe. In this test Europe showed that it’s weak and spineless.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Taliban are trying to capture Kunduz and territories around it and the American special forces contingent from NATO is trying to counter them.
Kunduz is part of the northern territories that have never been controlled by the Taliban but by Uzbek and Tajik militias already from the time of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud. They are generally loyal to the regime in Kabul and represent an important intermediate area leading to the security zone that Russia has entrusted on Tajikistan. In this sense Kunduz is a key region. This is an attempt to test how far can be destabilized the former Soviet Central Asia. If you remember, there was a mutiny attempt of the former Deputy Interior Minister of Tajikistan in late August and early September, which was quickly quelled by the Tajik security services, I’m guessing with the assistance of Russia. That’s when the attempt to destabilize the northern arc of Afghanistan, adjacent to Tajikistan was accelerated. And this happened because the project “Islamic State” is a small piece of the puzzle of the big plan for creating a monstrous arc of instability from Marrakesh to Chinese Turkestan: blowing up the whole region, elimination of secular regimes, transforming enormous human masses into a state of “tribes with flags” and their secondary barbarization . Thus Europe had to be pressured from below, from the south, from the continuous movement of large masses of people bearing the charming name of “refugees” to keep Europe in a constant state of stress. Under pressure is not only Europe but also Russia, since the idea is “Islamic State” to export the Islamic revolution in the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Volga region.
According to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation fighting there are about 5000 people from Russia and about 6500 from the former republics of the Soviet Union. This is about a core of people with combat experience, which then had to be transferred to the respective territories. Not surprisingly, a few days ago Raqqa, capital of the “Islamic State” in Syria was bombed very fiercely by the Syrian Air Force, and then by the Russian Aerospace Forces, because apart from anything else, there is the Russian-speaking core of ISIS. Extra for Europe was served in the Ukrainian miracle and with this were blown apart the growing ties between Russia and Germany. A nightmare of every Anglo-Saxon geopolitic, is that a hypothetical union between Russia, Germany and Beijing places the resonating question: what is the United States doing in Eurasia? Thus Europe was forced against the wall with a huge arc of instability from the south and southeast, the second time with a huge arc of instability in the east. There was the interruption of genetic, functional, militarial , civilizational and economic ties with Russia and the catalysis of already existing contradictions within the European project. It’s about strengthening the contradictions between the North and South, between the East and West of the EU, between the developed European core and its periphery. The latest refugee crisis showed for example, that Eastern and Western Europe have no common interests. Thus, so-called. “Europe” is pushed ever more firmly into the American geopolitical chariot, supposedly the “only” one that can provide security.
You mentioned that “Islamic State” is a paper tiger. Though thanks to this paper tiger, Europe tore at the seams and experienced an absolute decline of the political sphere.
Look, the processes have an external situational, manipulative galloping plan in which journalists and commentators usually slip. But the processes have a much deeper plan that is beyond all geopolitical machinations. This is about rising powerful tectonic demographic and civilizational processes that have a monstrous inertial potential. Alain Benoist precisely defined Europe as a continent of old men. An aging population of 500 million is surrounded by a young and energetic population. By mid-century the population of Africa is expected to grow to 3 billion people as the continent with the highest natural growth. By 2030 will be the peak of population growth in the Maghreb and Mashriq, meaning North Africa and the Middle East. This is a young population, and it must be directed somewhere. There is an objective imbalance between the aging but rich and steeped in luxury and civilizational sweet talk Europe, and these young barbarian mobs that must somehow be contained.
One way to contain them is to create growth centers within these societies, which obviously is not happening. The idea is to blow up this hive and direct it selectively in one direction or another, crushing in the womb any geopolitical alternatives, which may occur in either Europe or in Russia. In the so-called refugee flow from August we see elements of man-made work. Obviously, this is about directing the refugee masses from Turkey, of about 250-300 000 people. In Turkey there are around 5-6 million “refugees”, located in camps or in urban areas of the country. These are people who were channeled in the most opportune moment in August, when Europe goes on leave and ceases to function. These flows were sent trough the corridor of the Greek islands, Macedonia, Serbia towards Hungary and Germany because it is the only way to avoid a breach of contract between the EU and Turkey on the readmission of third parties back to Turkish territory. This is a well organized active undertaking. These are young men between 18 and 40, military age and with no families. The families are meant for the cameras of the organized media campaign to create a tearful taste of a great tragedy.
After that came the second stage of the drama: the letter of Ahmet Davutoglu to all European leaders. In this way, Turkey used the refugee flow as a tool for geopolitical extortion and asked for what she long ago wanted – to legitimize the eventual Turkish occupation of northern Syria with a so-called “security zone” from which the first item was the requirement for a ban on flights .
The Islamist groups on the field do not have aviation. Obviously the goal is different: to create a zone from which the Syrian army is eliminated. Second, an area in which to create the infrastructure for a campaign against Damascus and the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad as a Russian and Iranian ally. Third, that this is packaged and legitimized not as a Turkish pressure, but as a way out of the desperate situation called a “refugee flow”, i.e. to fulfill what Turkey wants, legitimized as a request from Europe. This lies behind the cliché: “let’s solve the problem by removing it’s causes in Syria itself.” And fourth, very important – to smother in the womb any idea of a second Kurdish autonomy, this time on Syrian territory. Something which is Turkey’s nightmare. From the perspective of Turkish strategic interest that is legitimate and completely justified. Another is the question of how, when and whether it will be realized.
Say more about Turkey’s role in the new geopolitical game?
Turkey is trying to play a geopolitical role for which it does not actually have a capacity, despite the enormous progress and resources of this country, which are especially due to the Islamic regime of Erdogan. I am one of the few analysts who argue that this particular person did the impossible: to catapult Turkey to the XXI century. This is an aboriginal social and political movement in Turkey itself, logically leading to a break with the Kemalist tradition. Turkey simply returned to it’s roots of Islamic and hybrid society, i.e. both Eastern and Western.
But Turkey is trying to play between two mastodons: between Russia and the United States, protecting its geopolitical interests, which could cost it it’s territorial integrity and the future of the nation. In the Syrian case this interest is the following: historically Turkey has never accepted the existence of an independent Syrian state. To the Turkish geopolitical elite Syria is nothing more than the regions Sham and Haleb. To Turkey, Syria has always been a temporarily existing entity that should somehow end it’s existence. In the context of the neo-ottoman doctrine of Turkey, this is only a first step towards the consolidation of the Sunnis in the Middle East under the leadership of Erdogan. Which means an active Turkish foreign policy, direct military and economic presence in the Middle East, the control of energy flows – and all this immediately goes contrary to the interests of Russia, Iran and Israel.
Turkey has no capacity for such a collision. Erdogan’s Turkey is not the Turkey of Selim Yavuz and Suleiman Kanuni. But Turkey has a purely militarily geopolitical interest to control the northern zone parallel to its southern border, as those are the Kurdish areas. This is the second hidden but real task of the so-called “security zone” that has nothing to do with refugees, and the goal is to crush Kurdish resistance in Turkey. The biggest nightmare revived this summer in Turkey after the elections, is the resurgence of Kurdish separatism in southeastern provinces who use as their support base, northern Iraq and of course, northern Syria.
And so before Turkey there’s a cascade of tasks, which it pursues, and it’s current geopolitical agenda coincides somewhat with US interests. It matches, but you can not say that Turkey is a puppet of the United States, as some people mistakenly think. The Turkish political and strategic interest coincides with the US at this point for some things, and so they play together. Destabilization of Europe is one of those common interests. Destroying Syria is the other, but in the long term, Turkey sails away from the US geopolitical ship.
Is it a coincidence that there is no singular solution for the refugees in Europe, or did this crisis simply highlight the lack of a united leadership in the EU?
The thing called the European Union, in it’s present form, lives in it’s last days. This of course does not mean that it will disintegrate finally tomorrow. However it is obvious that the European project as such is really going through it’s last moments. This is because the EU is an absolutely artificial formation, which stands on shifting sands. The EU emerged as an organization in the distant early 50’s, with two main tasks which were cynically, but correctly highlighted by a US general: to hold “the Russians out, the Germans down, and we on top.” The EU has nothing to do with talk of European integration, brotherhood, unity, solidarity or what was it? “Subsidiarity”.
After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from geopolitical confrontation it was clear that the EU actually does not have a cause different from the US agenda. The EU devoured the former eastern territories, i.e. the Soviet occupation zone in Eastern Europe, but it only delayed by 25 years the problem of the lack of a genuine integration of European nations. What is called the EU at the moment is nothing more than an organization of transatlantic elites and transnational corporations. They have nothing to do with the interest of national cores in Europe. That’s why there runs a long-term process of grinding, and denationalizing these countries. The transatlantic agenda precludes the existence of nation states with a backbone, memory and self interests. That which now happens with the so-called refugees, only revealed this problem.
And the problem is the following: the economic engine of Europe – Germany is not a sovereign country. That’s why it has an absolutely confused attitude. Confused only at first glance, as it can not make independent geopolitical decisions. It can torment Greece, but in no case can it make any global geopolitical decisions. The refugee crisis as a litmus test revealed the absence of such a thing as “Europe”. This is the goal – no singular geopolitical entity, but a loose, trade and economic-financial area from the Atlantic to the security zone of Russia.
This space should be strong enough that it remains in some jelly-like form, but weak enough to not have it’s own geopolitical backbone. It must be attached to the Atlantic hegemon and thus be controlled and manipulated. On the other hand, despite the total decadence of the European civilization, this mass of 500 million Europeans is the only one that has the potential – economic, financial, civilizational, virtual – to create a geopolitical alternative. This should not be allowed and the issue is worked on.
Countries such as Croatia and Hungary refused to accept refugees, but Angela Merkel still notoriously says “We can deal with it”, which causes sharp reactions of many MP’s in the Bundestag.
Germany began to make attempts at emancipation in the late 90s and beginning of the millennium, and this was immediately undercut from the root. The German elite is extremely dependent. It is not entitled to an alternative behavior, which is why the whole geopolitical drama of refugees is limited to quotas, technology, money, without talking about the real genesis of the processes and their solution.
Russian warplanes have already destroyed many bases of the ” Islamic State “, joining are China and Iran. Are the days of the” Islamic State ” finished? Is the information war waged with Russia going to end?
In short – the information attack will not stop. The so-called “Islamic State” will be transformed into “a foreign name and new look”. There are already initiatives for the organization of an alliance of Syrian opposition forces against the “Russian and Iranian occupation” of the country. The goal is for Russia to be placed below on the terrain in a long lasting bloody conflict, which is supposed to drain her strength. Iran too. Except history never repeats itself. Unlike Afghanistan, in Syria exists a motivated ally that has become one with the terrain – Syrian Alawites, Christians, Druze and a part of the Sunnis. These people really have something to lose – everything. But they also know what they will win – their lives and their nation.
The American attack on a hospital in Kunduz can be called a war crime. The USA makes more and more mistakes, and has inadequate reactions.
The story in Kunduz was really untimely. Just as the “neutral” world mass media was spinning pre-manufactured footage of bombed civilian sites by Russian aviation in Syria … and this happens in Kunduz. As the saying goes: in theory and in practice it is so, but in reality it always happens otherwise … Nassim Taleb’s “Black Swan” of unforeseen randomness, once again flew over the otherwise carefully laid plans …