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Yesterday, OilPro reported, “Putin Reportedly Considers Selling $11bn of Rosneft To China & India” (June 21, 2016), and I was asked for an opinion:

It could be a ruse or an easy play to encourage the feudalism he needs to keep his state where he has placed it as a new and kicking feudal homeland, but the ruling cultures — FSB and Big Oligarch Money — continue to confuse Russians and otherwise devour the state (that’s what kleptocracies do). I no longer know how true to form the “mafia state” and “Putin’s Kleptocracy” may be as Putin has for some years tried forcing the oligarchs to invest and spend within Russia. Now Russia has the “T-34 Tank Tomato” for export. What else is in the pipeline? And how “unreformed” may Russians and others, especially the open democracies, expect Russia to be, say, five years from now?

As regards Syria: it appears Putin, Assad, and Khamenei had expected to defend “feudal absolute power” with a great demonstration of barbarism plus the development of ISIS. The west’s refusal to intervene, which matter might and will be argued for a while, I’m sure, has left the problems created in the hands of those who fashioned them. Call it divine justice — or not — the three dictators have now to seriously diminish ISIS and reclaim Syrian space for the privileged of the state whose interests Assad represents. They were so smart in 2011 that here in 2016 they are draining their own pockets.

Related on BackChannels: “Syria — ‘Assad vs The Terrorists’ — How ISIS Defends Assad”, October 2, 2015.

The Obama Administration’s apparent policy of “least (visible) war possible” has forestalled interventions certainly noted as possibilities deep down in the government’s soul while it forged ahead with strategic maneuvers ranging from the achievement of energy independence to the buttressing of NATO elements where needed to stave off Russia’s renewed but “neo-imperial” ambitions.  Perhaps the point has been to strengthen the “western” (oh, come on: let’s call it the “human”) hand (naturally politically coherent, democratic, integrating, self-actualizing, self-organizing across broad polities) while receiving the survivor-refugees coming off the “Syrian Tragedy”, BackChannel’s term for what has been observed since 2011 in the Syrian theater of war.

Additional and Cited Reference

BackChannels.  “Cold War? –> Cold Struggle.”  May 15, 2016.

BackChannels: “Syria — ‘Assad vs The Terrorists’ — How ISIS Defends Assad”, October 2, 2015.

Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.  “MARO: Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook.”  PDF.  Published by The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010.