September and October — flak jackets on and hunker down: We’ll have the election in November; Putin will have more assembled in Syria and Crimea and, in general, who knows what on behalf of the world’s other dictators; Erdogan will have sorted out Turkey HIS way with NATO at this moment deeply compromised by dissolving or near dissolving of the Turkish military (accompanied by the rise of a Turkish police state). As weakness invites war, expect “fireworks” this fall.
I don’t want to shout “the sky is falling too often”, but just this once, take a look at the total state of foreign affairs. American appears to be between presidents and the politics are hardly bringing us together.
These “rigs” in relationships have survived the Obama Administration: Putin-Assad-Khamenei; Putin-Orban; Putin-Erdogan.
The Russian Army claiming retreat in Syria has instead ramped up its basing and technology there; in Crimea, it still has Ukrainians fighting one another while Russian Orthodox Christians in the state march on Kiev. In the west, its “investment” in ISIS has paid off handsomely as goading populations toward or into defensive nationalist postures themselves. “BREXIT” was not a win for the UK or Europe: it was helpful to Russia in its efforts to destabilize the region, i.e., weaken its enemies. Or, taken this other way, because it thinks so much of itself — superior Russian soul and culture and all that — the manipulation proves to itself its own mastery over the world.
Russia’s message has changed with revolution and dissolution, but perhaps its medieval essentials have not: secret police, an all powerful head of state, a patronized aristocracy: they are all there on this day. And those who might take advantage of heightened east-west, medieval-modern, despotic-democratic tensions breaking out into conflict, they’re getting into position.
Even sitting at a desktop with few distractions (from political chatter, at last), once cannot “cover it all” — not China in the South China Sea, not North Korea, which has effectively updated its war footing with Washington, not Syria, not Crimea. Overviewed, however, an image seems to emerge. For BackChannels, it has been that of accentuation or amplification along Red, Brown, and Green — Old Communists, New Nationalists, and Islamists — lines sufficient to weaken the west and make way for the greater establishment of authoritarian / despotic governance and all that may be implied by that.
Kureev, Artem. “The Invisible Russian military presence in Syria.” Russia Direct, July 19, 2016.