Beyond the Cusp

September 27, 2015

When the Good Are Leaderless

 

This week has proven how absolutely horrific the world scene can turn when the Western governments are leaderless and not only do not have a policy but don’t even have a clue. The United States State Department has released statements explaining their expectations that Secretary of State Kerry will hold meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the ceremonies this week at the United Nations to discuss the situation in Syria, to discuss what role the United States might play towards stabilizing the situation and combatting the Islamic State. This is the end result of Washington leading from behind. The full ramifications has yet to even begin to play out as to the far reaching effects of the surrender of any leading role by the United States over the past six plus years of the Obama foreign policy. Further tokens being cashed due to the lack of American presence, let alone leadership, will be the handing of seventy-five Russian tanks from Syrian forces to Hezballah in order for the latter to form a core around which to build an armored division. These tanks will be T-55 and T-72 models which make them outdated compared with the United States Abrams or the more modern Israeli Merkava IV tanks currently deployed by the two Western militaries, but when compared to no such force these are a definitive step up towards fulfilling the Hezballah desire to field heavy armor units. Further there are plans for Russian and Iranian tank commanders to train Hezballah in the best tactics and use of these assets. This news comes fast on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow where Netanyahu received Putin’s guarantee that Russian forces currently being deployed in Syria were there to provide a positive influence and not to alter the balance of power. This news of the gifting of heavy main battle tanks, no matter how dated, to Hezballah is not what one might call having no deleterious effects on the current balance of power.

 

United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, top American negotiator for the Iranian nuclear deal, was quoted according to The Associated Press on Friday that the Obama administration is ready to open a dialogue with Iran about the situation in Syria. This comes on the heels with an Administration signaling their readiness to soften their position on the requirement for Bahir al-Assad to be removed from power in any progress in ending the carnage on the ground in Syria. Additionally the Administration has fully admitted their having no priorities nor plans for addressing the Islamic State and that the United States was taking a back seat and simply providing assistance behind the clearer vision provided by Iran and Russia as to what will be the most advantageous manner in which to address the Islamic State. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly made it patently clear to America in the past that their assisting in taking the lead in fighting the Islamic State was predicated on their continued support for al-Assad and that the United States demands for his removal were a dead issue. It now appears that the Obama Administration is ready and willing to surrender on this issue and will be satisfied to once again to lead from behind.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear previously stating, “The United States’ ‘obsession’ with Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State… People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go ‘very far’ unless stopped, and air strikes alone are not going to do the trick. If people continue to acquiesce with what is going on and continue to acquiesce with those who categorically refuse to start the political process until Bashar Assad disappears, then I’m not very optimistic for the future of this region…”

 

 

Storm Brewing and Time to Ride the Storm Out

There is a Storm Brewing and the Time Has Come to Simply Ride the Storm Out

 

 

That is as straight a manner of stating that in Syria things will be done as benefits Russia if anything is to be done with their taking the lead. This was as definitive a ‘my way or the highway’ get ‘out of town’ reading of the riot act and exactly what can be expected from President Putin as a reaction to the complete lack of United States initiative. This lack of United States policy is a large part responsible for why Egypt and Israel have both had to meet with Russia’s Putin to receive any assurances that the plans for the Middle East were not planning on eclipsing their future and stake in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Still, this lack of leadership by the United States will leave Israel in a compromised position for as long as she remains beholden to the United States as her life raft. Perhaps it would have been wiser for Israel to have read the tea leaves and departed Obama back when doing so had advantages which are no longer in play.

 

 

 

 

The best path left for Israel is to watch the upcoming elections in the United States with great interest and care and plan for either eventuality when the results are in. It would be unwise to aggravate an already untenable and shaky situation any further and probably best to attempt to prevent any further daylight to come between the allies and hope to ride the storm out. In the meantime Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to defend his attitude when opposition forces within the Israeli government such as Yair Lapid make as much out of this delicate balancing act. The one advantage for Netanyahu is that the Israeli electorate more than likely trust Lapid even less than they do Bibi. The one truth is that Bibi has attached his wagon to the United States and declared his decision to ride out the remaining year and a half in order to see what makes its way into the White House starting January of 2017. Bibi is betting that closer relations will become presentable with the next administration and the Israeli public appears to be along for the ride for now. This could result in a bumpy ride and make for an interesting next election cycle in Israel. Until then it is batten down the hatches and keep on riding the storm out.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 2, 2014

Easters Ukraine Simply the Battleground Against Russian Imperialism

Many, initially including myself, thought that Putin was attempting to reestablish Russian influence over the former nations within the Soviet Iron Curtain. I have come to adjust this assessment to believing he is simply attempting to restore the Russian influence and extend its borders to include the areas which came under Czarist control at the peak of the Russian Empire. This is supported by the limited attempts to expand the Russian grab to the northernmost regions of Georgia and now eastern Ukraine as well as Crimean Peninsula. Should this prove to be real then most of the nations of Eastern Europe and Central Asia can feel less threatened as Putin may have a more limited scope than many initially feared. Either scenario places Eastern Ukraine as on the immediate short list for Russian adventurism and the rest of the Ukraine for eventual consumption should Putin’s aims be for the furthest extremes of Czarist expansionism. There is the possibility that the Russian appetite will be satiated by taking the Eastern Ukrainian provinces as those would also give Russia the necessary land access to the Crimean Peninsula. The other interest in the Eastern Ukraine is the factories which includes a number of arms factories as well as other industries vital for the Ukrainian economic wealth. Could the Ukraine remain as a viable nation if they were forced to cede the eastern provinces to the Russians? That is something which has been debated with inconclusive results but the majority view is in favor of survival though lacking much of their arms trade, currently one of the Ukrainian’s most profitable industries.

 

The claims that there are no Russian troops taking part in the fighting in the Ukraine are no longer debatable, let alone believable. There are the Russian troops which the Ukrainian paratrooper forces captured last week, forces that Russian spokespeople claimed had simply become disorientated and had inadvertently crossed over the border and were not taking any part in the ongoing fighting. The doubts about Russian intervention and joining the separatists have completely evaporated with the presence of Russian main battle tanks joining the insurrection. This is no longer a civil war but an invasion of an independent nation by Russia. This invasion by Russia of another independent member nation of the United Nations places Putin’s Russia in contravention of numerous United Nation rules and declarations which protect the individual member states from aggressions by other member states. The United Nations presumably offers methods for mediating any differences between member nations thereby providing peaceable means for resolving differences. Somehow, knowing some of the history of what duties and responsibilities Putin was required to perform, and which he appeared to relish, for the KGB; it is not surprising that he would play fast and loose with any rules and ignore any restriction supposedly enforced by the United Nations and simply rely on brute force of arms to accomplish his goals concerning Russian absorption of Ukrainian lands. The announced annexation which was the initial move against Ukrainian national lands was an early indicator of the extent to which Putin was prepared to go to realize his goals. The only problem has been the undetermined extent to which Putin aims to carry the Russian expansion over Ukrainian sovereign lands. Many have initially hoped that Russian appetite would be satiated with the Crimean Peninsula which included the main Ukrainian naval base and port, facilities which were shared by the Ukrainians with the Russians by treaty, the same treaty which also required that Ukrainian sovereignty to be defended from any and all incursions by foreign powers in exchange for the Ukraine releasing the entirety of their nuclear arsenal, a significant number of soviet ICBMs which had been placed within the Ukrainian borders by the Soviet Union while they occupied all of the Ukraine as a Soviet province. These ICBMs and their nuclear warheads at that time had made the Ukraine the nation with the third largest nuclear weaponry even ahead of Mainland China. Presumably, in exchange for surrendering these nuclear weapons systems the Ukrainians received assurances against any incursions on their borders which the United States, United Kingdom and Russia who were obligated to aid the Ukraine in such circumstance. The treaty made the obligation to be less binding than requiring an actual defense or intervention by the guaranteeing nations and apparently this opt out option appears to have become the selection most favored. At least Putin has not elected to try and excuse his troops intervening in the violence ongoing over the past several months as their intervention under the nuclear treaty with the Ukraine.

 

One might then ask what about the United States and United Kingdom and their treaty obligations to assist the Ukraine. Well, we are talking about an incursion by Russia which, even if it has a declining economic picture, a negative population growth and a slowly but inexorably crumbling infrastructure, it is still the nation with one of the largest nuclear weapons inventories in the world and a formidable military force available with a KGB trained officer at its head. Unfortunately for the Ukraine, the world has reached the twenty-first century where bad actors, even Russian leaders, are threatened with being on the wrong side of history which presumably guarantees that their unsocial behaviors will fail, eventually, as history will right all wrongs. This similar to the threat from ISIS being determined to be an irresponsible set of actors who are guaranteed to also fail as the twenty-first century will belong to the builders and not those who are the purveyors of destruction. These have been the forces which apparently the forces of western principles and virtues which will reign in the twenty-first century and there will no longer be any need for such primitive reliance on violence and the clash of arms deciding the outcomes of good versus evil, the twenty-first century itself will defeat those evil forces which are reliant on destruction and thus fall on the wrong side of history. What a relief, I thought for a moment that there might be a problem with Russian expansionism threatening the independence and sovereignty of the Ukraine but apparently this is simply the machinations of an evil leader who once he realizes that history will place him on its wrong side will repent and immediately cease from his errant ways. What a relief knowing that the twenty-first century is out there guarding the world from the depravations of those who practice destructive influences or other evil inclinations which land them on the wrong side of history. Hopefully I can now sleep assured that the twenty-first century is out there guarding the world from any violence or other malicious and malevolent forces which might have designs of crossing history and pulling it to the wrong side, that dark side which resides on the wrong side of history with the destroyers and against those who promise to build despite any destructive entities.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

« Previous Page

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.