The first aspect to consider, following the US attack on Syria, is what Putin, Xi, and Rohani, leaders of the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and Iran respectively, thought while American Tomahawks were hitting the Syrian air base of Shayrat.
The last three years of the Obama presidency highlighted two very different strategies being advanced simultaneously by the US and the nations opposing its imperialistic overreach, principally Russia, China and Iran. The latter have been seeking cooperation, while the US, with its big hammer, has characteristically been on the search for nails to hammer. Yet the management of international relations has always sought to maintain wide diplomatic channels, even putting in place precautions in the military arena, such as direct communication lines at the height of tensions of 2014 in Ukraine.
With the DPRK, Obama adopted an attitude of strategic patience rather than the posture being employed by Trump of military bullying. With Iran, Obama’s team negotiated a nuclear deal that included a lot of diplomacy between Moscow, Beijing and Washington. One could almost say that, with the exception of Ukraine and Syria, relations between Washington and major chancelleries in Eurasia had their ups and downs, but they rarely reached the levels of concern that were seen in the first days the Trump presidency. Let us take Syria as an example. Obama resisted pressure to bomb the country following a false-flag chemical attack done by al Qaeda-type rebels. The media and intelligence accused Assad, but Obama saw through this and decided against further entanglement in the Syrian quagmire. Facing a similar situation, Trump instead decided to proceed and bomb a sovereign nation, creating a ripple effect whose ultimate results are at this stage difficult to discern.
Surely one of the first results has been the cancellation of any kind of cooperation between the US and Russia in Syria. This means that any nations operating against Islamist terrorism in Syria will be reluctant to grant further concessions to Washington. In recent weeks, Moscow and Damascus have preferred to hit Daesh and Nusra Front while inflicting relatively little damage to the Islamists in the country controlled by Washington and its allies, normally the FSA and its affiliates. This Russian posture was in deference to Kerry’s original request to Lavrov that a clear distinction be made between terrorists and so-called moderate rebels. Moscow was aware from the beginning that there is no substantial differences between Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda, and other minor Daesh acronyms gathered around the FSA. All groups are armed and fighting against the legitimate Syrian government, making them legitimate targets, especially following America’s unilateral bombing of Syria. The strategy of Damascus, Tehran and Moscow was aimed at finding a common understanding, from the diplomatic point of view, in order to bring Washington to the negotiating table. Concessions by both parties were necessary, and from the perspective of Russian forces, focusing on Nusra Front and Daesh was a good bargaining chip to use.
After Trump’s actions in Syria, all kinds of cooperation has been suspended, and it is anticipated that Damascus’s allies will specifically target US proxy forces in Syria as a response. The consequence will be that the US will have even less influence in Syria then before lobbing its 60-or-so missiles. In addition to this, Trump’s intention in the bombing should be seen as seeking to increase his negotiating position with Moscow on the question of Syria. What does not appear clear to the American president is that his actions may have the opposite effect. Putin is certainly not the type of person who lets others intimidate him or put him in a weak situation. If the intention of Trump was to create the ideal conditions for Tillerson and Lavrov to establish a cooperative relationship, perhaps it would be appropriate to ask what kind of understanding Trump has of international relations.
After this reckless action in Syria, Trump will have greater difficulty carrying out his plan to defeat Daesh, if this is still the plan. And so another election promise – the one to wipe Daesh off the map – is likely to be broken. This is not to mention that the SDF, the Kurdish forces, will from now on be viewed with more hostility by the Syrian and Russian forces, being ground troops who are undeclared by the US military.
Given the unpredictability of the US, Damascus cannot rule out the possibility that Washington’s final intent is to further the original plan of partitioning Syria as proposed by the Brookings Institute and embraced by the neocons and liberal-interventionist crowd. Moscow and Damascus cannot trust Washington, and this precludes many opportunities for Trump to pursue a foreign policy that aligns with his election promises.
President Xi during the Syrian bombing was at a diplomatic meeting with Trump and was told about the military action at the end of the meeting. It is likely that Trump wanted to send a message to the Chinese president and, indirectly, to Kim Jong-un, the leader of the DPRK. For the American president, this was all about a show of force, aimed at restoring the US role in the world and dictating the diplomatic conditions on which to agree for the resolution of various conflicts or areas of tension around the world. It is an approach that has almost entirely eliminated any possible cooperation with Beijing and Moscow.
Putin, Xi, and Rohani must leave behind any hopes for cooperation with Washington. It is important for them to send a strong message to Trump that the front opposing US imperialism is compact and ready to respond in the case of further provocations. Of course such a response need not necessarily be with military action but rather with all the alternatives available, such as with the areas of finance, the economy and diplomacy.
Until a few weeks ago, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran aimed at a resolution of problems with Washington in order to find a strategic balance in international relations. At this point in time, it should be clear that this strategy will not work. We are in a multipolar world that is synonymous with instability. The ideal conditions for a balance of political forces lie in a joint duopoly that recalls the situation that obtained during the Cold War. Even the unipolar moment guaranteed greater stability in a certain sense, given the unfortunate disproportion of force that the US enjoyed throughout the 1990s. What Trump finds hard to understand is that in a multipolar reality, the chances of clashes increase significantly.
Trump is meddling directly or indirectly in a lot of situations, ranging from Iran’s involvement in Syria, threatened by American partners such as Saudi Arabia; to the use of Russian forces in Syria; passing by the perennial crisis in Ukraine; and instability in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In China we have the autonomous region of Xinjiang, the South China Sea, and not to forget tensions with New Delhi as well as the explosive situation in the DPRK. If Trump is confident in being able to test the waters in each of these situations, even with the use of the military, to arrive at better negotiating positions, it is best that we all prepare for a nuclear winter.
The key issue for China, Russia and Iran must necessarily be to place emphasis on increasing cooperation in several areas, such as finance, the economy, the military, and politics. Up until a month ago, as a result of Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, all three of these nations aspired for cooperation in the field of international relations with the US on equal terms. After what happened in Syria, they have fully understood that this opportunity is now threatened by a clear desire by Trump to risk everything in order to improve his negotiating position. This is the reckless attitude of an unprepared POTUS.
Only a strong unity of purpose, under the economic umbrella of a jettisoning of the dollar as a reserve currency, can change the situation dramatically. In addition to this, the US dollar must be excluded in trade deals between cooperating nations. Another important effort lies with stocking up as much gold as possible. With these methods, it will be possible to stand up to the US’s pressure without it leading to a military conflict. Organizations such as the BRICS, SCO, Eurasian Union and One Belt, One Road must necessarily take up the challenge thrown down by Trump with the launch of 59 missiles on Syria, and show what consequences Trump has brought on himself through his rash actions. Moscow, Tehran and Beijing have an impetus to finally overcome any lingering hesitation and to completely disengage from the western system. Instead of creating alternative ways to operate in the economic and financial sphere, they should try to replace the current one, making it irrelevant and inconvenient for other nations.
The primary objective for these three nations must be from now on to resolve every dispute between them and form an alliance that goes beyond the mere question of economic or financial convenience. The goal should be to create a cultural and social system that can represent an opportunity for other third countries vis-a-vis a predatory capitalism and a rampant imperialistic approach that Trump appears to have signed onto.
Trump’s actions ultimately worsened the US State of the World. The failure of the military operation involving the launch of the Tomahawks showed the US to be more of a paper tiger today than the unbeatable war machine it depicts itself to be. Decades of corruption at the highest levels of the military-industrial complex have finally started to affect the United State’s ability to wage war. It is an observation that is a taboo amongst the US and its allies, who need to maintain the illusion for deterrence, as well as to allow for the gravy train to continue to line the pockets of those who profit from this corrupt system. Reality shows us that in any real conflict, the United States vulnerability and lack of combat readiness shows.
In a situation like this, the strategy of Moscow and its allies is to produce weapons systems capable of inflicting considerable damage to the United States at low cost, given that Moscow cannot simply print more money and pour debt on the rest of the world in order to finance its wars. A great example of this can be seen with the anti-ship missiles Moscow possesses, which are capable of destroying American aircraft carriers, considered the backbone of the US war strategy. A missile that costs hundreds of thousand of euros can cause damage to an aircraft carrier worth tens of billions of dollars, inflicting a mortal blow to the credibility of American military posture.
If Trump will continue down this destructive path, such as with encouraging the entrance of Montenegro into NATO after an election campaign where he labelled the Atlantic alliance obsolete, he will only get the opposite effect to the one desired, which is to say worse negotiating positions with peer American competitors like Moscow and Beijing. Maybe it is time to wonder whether Trump is really keen on a de-escalation model of international relations, aimed at brokering deals from positions of strength, or whether his ultimate aim is simply to preserve America’s unipolar moment in any possible way, even with war. It is a perspective that should be discussed widely by nations such as Iran, Russia and China in order to find a perfect asymmetrical response through economic, financial, political and social means that avoid a direct conflict. The war between the American elites seems to have come to an end and the neoliberals and neocons seem to have won. Wars and chaos will continue, as with the last decades of US foreign policy. It is a sad prospect that the nations opposing Washington will have to deal with.
Originally published 2017-04-16
About the author: Federico Pieraccini Independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year – indeed less than a year – a man with zero political experience has destroyed two of America’s most entrenched political dynasties: Bush and Clinton.
Just pause on this for a moment, and place it in the context of someone who when he first appeared on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination was met with ridicule and scorn. Consequently, a mainstream media and liberal commentators for whom politics is an exclusive club, ...
Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists ...
At the time of the illegal NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 when Martti Ahtisaari was the President of Finland, his government sought to commemorate and to honor Finland’s Nazi SS volunteers from the Holocaust. This offers irrefutable evidence of Ahtisaari’s direct links for support of Nazism and Nazi revisionism. If Ahtisaari had bothered to check the decisions of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals, he would have found that that court held that all Waffen SS troops were war criminals guilty of war crimes and guilty of committing crimes against humanity, namely the mass murder of Jews. Ahtisaari lacks even ...
This article by Michel Collon was first published by Global Research in December 2003. It outlines with foresight the strategy of the US, through covert intelligence operations, of breaking up Iraq into a number of separate states. The unleashing of a civil war with a view to deliberately breaking up Iraq was part of the US war agenda from the outset.
They have found the solution! Divide Iraq into three mini-states and then pit them against one another. Does that remind you of something else? Oh, yes! It’s not the first time something like this happened….
The New York Times published ...
What do Hillary Clinton and the communist government of China have in common? Aside from their shared support for subverting freedom, lack of respect for human rights, and support of invasive surveillance, they both possess armies of trolls who manipulate online narratives.
According to a new report from researchers at Harvard’s Department of Government, the Chinese government employs millions of people to make posts praising government on their behalf. The internet mercenaries are deemed, collectively, “The 50 Cent Party,” because of rumors they are paid per post (the report concluded they do not appeared to be paid and most are government employees ...
The June 20 Gray Falcon commentary “Failure to Communicate” has this excerpt, that led me to an extremely anti-Russian and anti-Serb article, from a venue which has previously slanted in that direction:
“The latest example of this ‘flipping the script’ is a New Republic feature comparing Putin to Milosevic. In reality, it is the West acting towards Russia the same way they acted towards the Serbs two decades ago. I’ve argued before that Putin is aware of this, though the Russian public and media in general may not be.”
Whether the issue is the Caucasus or Ukraine, bombing Russia hasn’t been considered, unlike ...
Can the world wake up?
On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported:
Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.
The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, ...
The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.
Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United ...
Fifty years ago today, in 1967, nearly 100,000 Americans marched on Washington, DC, to protest the Vietnam War. In those days there was a mandatory draft in place, and the risk was very real that a young man just out of high school could quickly wind up 13,000 miles away, fighting an unseen enemy in jungles that didn’t need tanks or B-52 bombers to inflict fear. Worse yet was the possibility of going MIA or coming home in a body bag — just another expendable statistic in the great fight against communism. But even many of those who made it ...
In early 1944, Mirjana Babunovic-Dimitrijevic, a 22-year-old middle-class woman living in Sarajevo, was arrested by the Ustasa police. After she was arrested along with her mother and aunt, they were all deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp, for refusing to convert to Catholicism. All three women died there in late 1944.
These women were among more than 80,000 victims who perished at Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945. While we don’t know precisely how they died nor what happened during their short lives in the camp, two things are certain.
First, their deaths were the direct result of deliberate political decisions. Second, they ...
This article was original published by GR in May 2003
“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” - Hermann Goering
Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.
I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky ...
In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – an invasion which many Iraqis believe left their country in the worst condition it has been since the Mongol invasion of 1258 — there was much discussion in the media about the Bush Administration’s goal for “nation-building” in that country. Of course, if there ever were such a goal, it was quickly abandoned, and one hardly ever hears the term “nation-building” discussed as a U.S. foreign policy objective anymore.
The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle ...
One way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives—-often called simply “neocons”—to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda ...
If you wanted to identify, with confidence, the very worst president in American history, how would you go about it? One approach would be to consult the various academic polls on presidential rankings that have been conducted from time to time since Harvard’s Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. pioneered this particular survey scholarship in 1948. Bad idea.
Most of those surveys identify Warren G. Harding of Ohio as the worst ever. This is ridiculous. Harding presided over very robust economic times. Not only that, but he inherited a devastating economic recession when he was elected in 1920 and quickly turned bad times ...
In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel’s attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.
Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.
Soon more planes came. These ...
The Balkan political environment is shaped-amongst other- by the existence of two political strains of Islam, the Wahhabis, related to the Saudis & Gulf states and the Muslim Brotherhood ones, related to the Turkish-Qatar axis.
In both cases networking developed under a series of upturns since the 1990’s and is inexorably related to wider events of interest such as the ongoing wars in the Middle East and the culminations in countries such as Turkey, Egypt but also EU , Western European ones; including direct security affairs.
Nowadays we are witnessing a massive buyout of land and corporations by mostly UAE, Kuwait and ...
Veterans Day has passed. The annual ritual never changes. Politicians who didn’t serve in the armed services start unnecessary wars, killing military personnel whose sacrifices are then lauded. Officials say these heroes died defending our freedom. That is almost always a lie.
Sometimes Washington must go to war. Not often, however. Despite the endless claims that we live in a dangerous world, America is amazingly safe. No other power could defeat, let alone conquer, the United States. Only Russia has a comparable nuclear arsenal, but it would be destroyed if Moscow targeted America. China and Russia trail U.S. conventional military strength ...
As the U.S. and NATO casualties rise from the war in Afghanistan, with 2010 being the deadliest year of the nine-year war for the U.S., the question needs to be asked of how we got involved in that interminable and unwinnable conflict? The Afghan war has been dubbed Barack Obama’s War but its origins go back much earlier. Is the U.S. military disaster in Afghanistan an instance of blowback?
What is the standard definition of “blowback”? The U.S. intervenes illegally in a volatile and unstable scenario and over time the consequences of that criminality come back to reek havoc on U.S. ...
Five days before the celebration of the 71th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s capitulation to the Soviet and allied troops in the WWII, the new NATO Supreme Commander in Europe Curtis Scaparrotti announced that he came to beat the drums of war again. Ignoring the historic facts and legitimate Russian interests in its around, in his first speech after assuming office he condemned alleged “Russian aggressive behavior that challenges international norms” and called the bloc members to “fight tonight if deterrence fails.”
This commonplace declaration fairly correlates with the military and media strategy the Western ruling class adopted decades ago. Even putting aside the ...
Aleppo has become synonymous with destruction and “Syrian state-generated” violence among those whose perception of the situation in the war-torn nation is contained within the prism of mainstream media narratives.
The NATO-aligned media maintains a tight grip on information coming out of this beleaguered city, ensuring that whatever comes out is tailored to meet State Department requirements and advocacy for regime change. The propaganda mill churns out familiar tales of chemical weapons, siege, starvation, and bombs targeting civilians–all of which are attributed to the Syrian government and military, with little variation on this theme.
The purpose of this photo essay and my ...
Trump, Brexit and the Collapse of the Liberal Order
Is Barack Obama Actually Trying to Start World War III?
Finland’s Nazi Past and the SS Martti Ahtisaari
Washington has Found the Solution: “Let’s Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia!”
What Hillary Clinton has in Common with Communist China
Twisted History Against Russia and Serbia
Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China: Accept US Hegemony or Go to War?
The U.S. Prospects against the Russians and Chinese in World War III
What We Still haven’t Learned from the Vietnam War
How to Combat Croatian Revisionists’ Culture of Lies
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
The United States as Destroyer of Nations
Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq
America’s Worst President Ever
Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty (June 8th, 1967): A Half Century Later, Still no Justice
Balkan Islamist Galaxy in a Nutshell
Endless War Is No Honor to America’s Veterans
Blowback: Afghanistan and Bosnia
“Operation Unthinkable” (1945) and US-NATO’s Threats to Wage War on Russia
Journey to Aleppo: Exposing the Truth Buried under NATO Propaganda