Israel and France’s recent attack against Syria did not provoke the hoped-for response from Putin, and will hurt Israel badly if Russia upgrades Syria’s air defenses. From Robert Bridges at strategic-culture.org:
By initiating an attack on the Syrian province of Latakia, home to the Russia-operated Khmeimim Air Base, Israel, France and the United States certainly understood they were flirting with disaster. Yet they went ahead with the operation anyways.
On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.
Israel, France, and the US have just handed Vladimir Putin the perfect excuse to radically upgrade Syria’s air defenses. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The fog of war and geopolitics makes initial responses to the attack on Russian and Syrian forces recently difficult to assess.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response seemed timid and was at odds with statements from his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and more recent statements from Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
Putin backed off on explicitly blaming Israel for the downing of the IL-20 ELINT aircraft which killed 15 Russian servicemen, but made it clear he holds them responsible for the attack as a whole.
My thoughts on what the goals of the attack were are the focus of my latest article at Strategic Culture Foundation.
It was obvious to me that this attack was designed as a provocation to start World War III in Syria and blame the Russians for attacking a NATO member without proper cause, since the Syrian air defense forces were the ones responsible for shooting down the plane. Continue reading
Some former Warsaw Pact countries aren’t buying the EU party line. From John Laughland at ronpaulinstitute.org:
The “salon des refusés” of political dissidents in the EU is getting bigger by the day. Less than a week after his government was condemned in a vote in the European parliament, Orban is in Moscow for talks about energy with Putin. His visit to Russia is the political equivalent of giving the EU the finger following last week’s humiliation.
Orban is not alone. In his battle with the EU over immigration and the rule of law, he is supported by Poland and the Czech Republic. Poland, which is also facing an Article 7 procedure against it by the European Commission, has vowed to protect Hungary, just as Hungary has vowed to protect Poland. So there is no way that the voting rights of either country can be removed, since the ultimate vote to do so requires unanimity. Orban also recently received the support of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and of the Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini.
The US keeps talking about Russian encroachments and aggression while making aggressive encroachments in Eastern Europe. It’s not clear if Putin will continue to sit still for this. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:
By the end of his second term, President Ronald Reagan, who had called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” was strolling through Red Square with Russians slapping him on the back.
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.
And how have we husbanded the fruits of our Cold War triumph?
This month, China’s leader-for-life Xi Jinping stood beside Vladimir Putin as 3,000 Chinese troops maneuvered with 300,000 Russians, 1,000 planes and 900 tanks in Moscow’s largest military exercise in 40 years.
An uncoded message to the West from the East.
Richard Nixon’s great achievement in bringing Peking in from the cold, and Reagan’s great achievement of ending the Cold War, are history.
Bolshevism may be dead, but Russian nationalism, awakened by NATO’s quick march to Russia’s ancient frontiers, is alive and well. Continue reading
Hats off to the geniuses who believed the best US foreign policy was to drive a wedge between China and Russia. It worked well; they are getting closer by the day. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on the Sino-Russian border Tuesday. Simultaneously Russia and China kicked off unprecedented joint military exercises as part of Russia’s annual Vostok war games, which will run for a week and includes thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, and some 300,000 Russian personnel.
President Putin has of late sought closer relations with China, which Russia shares a massive 4,200km border with, amidst both countries experiencing deep tensions with the West, including US sanctions against Moscow and a growing trade war between China and Washington.
It’s the third time this year the two leaders have met and the fact that it was planned at the inauguration of Vostok 2018 no doubt sent a strong signal to Washington that the two countries’ usually chilly relations are warming fast in the face of a common increased threat from the West. Continue reading
The basic question is why doesn’t Russia do more to respond to US provocations. The Saker’s answer, linked in the first sentence, is well worth reading. So to is Roberts’ response to the Saker. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:
The Saker has answered my question: http://thesaker.is/reply-to-paul-craig-roberts-crucial-question/ Except for his belief in the predominance of US military force over Russia in Syria and his possible misreading of my phrase, “turning the other cheek,” to imply Russian meekness rather than a calculated strategy that might be mistaken, I agree with him.
The difference, if there is one, is that by “provocations” I am addressing a broader arena than the possibilities for military confrontation in Syria/Iran and Ukraine. My concerns include, for example, the orchestrated “Skripal poisoning” by a “deadly nerve agent.” This story, despite the total absense of any evidence—indeed, the presence of much evidence against it—continues to develop with ever more absurd accusations. The purpose of this story is to put Russia and its president in the worst possible light, thereby creating a climate of belief for the next false flag attack to be blamed on Russia. Continue reading
Putin should probably just keep doing what he’s been doing (see “The Black Belt Strategist,” SLL). From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
Andrei Martyanov http://www.unz.com/article/russia-as-a-cat/ has answered my question https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/31/can-war-be-avoided-and-the-planet-saved/ .
I agree with everything Martyanov says. But I believe my question remains unanswered.
Probably it is my fault. Perhaps I framed the question so sharply that it came across as an attack on Putin’s level-headed policy. Also, my use of the phrase “turning the other cheek” could have implied denigration of Putin rather than my admiration for his level-headedness and humane approach to his great responsibility.