Stephen F. Cohen gave his weekly report to John Batchelor's radio audience last night, which covered Russia and Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, and Russia in Syria. (Podcast). It should go without saying by now that I think you should listen carefully to his reports.
I have one disagreement or at least a caution in response to Steve's hopeful analysis of Sec.State John Kerry's embassy to Moscow, which scored a pleased smile from President Putin.
(Kerry very cleverly hauled the State Department's Victoria Nuland with him to Moscow on the theory one needs to keep one's enemies close. The last time Kerry made real progress with the Russians, Nuland went rogue on him.)
The caution is that I don't think Steve sees what is happening underneath the Get Russia Crowd's machinations, which have undergone a transformation in the past five or so years. The Military Industrial Complex has been replaced by the Military Industrial Development Complex.
How this happened is a long story but it boils down to the Chinese eclipsing American power at the World Bank. Which works out to China diverting many development projects to contractors it favors.
Instead of doing what I recommended 10 years ago when the writing on the Bank's wall became clear; i.e., the U.S. government setting up its own development bank, it began shifting development projects to the military and its contractors.
This is how we began seeing in Afghanistan 'bridges to nowhere' and roads to nowhere and buildings that housed nothing.
The Responsibility to Protect doctrine was perverted because it meshed perfectly with the American militarization of country development. An illustration can be found in Kori Schake's discussion on the John Batchelor Show last night. (Podcast) From the JBS schedule summary of the interview:
Tuesday 15 December 2015 / Hour 1, Block B: Kori Schake, Hoover, in re: Operation Provide Comfort for Kurds of northern Iraq against the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime. Kurds. Jordan, Syria – move refugee camps to safe spaces. Provide safe water and good schooling and grow the next generation of leaders.Schake then laid out a rather incoherent plan for balkanizing Syria:
Let Assad have Latakia and the northwest. The northeast, Rojava, is a Kurdish proto-nation. Our passivity has let 300K persons be killed there, . . . and tempted the Russians to enter. First and foremost, we need to protect Syrians, so they're not fleeing the country. John Kerry in Moscow today said, "We're not in favor of regime change" – which is insane.
Main problem for Pres Obama's so-called strategy in Syria is that he thinks there's no cost to time – when in fact the cost is enormous: San Bernardino, Paris, dozens of thousands dead in Mesopotamia. We don't have until January 2017 to get this right.TRANSLATION: We need to hire thousands of contractors to develop the next generation of proto-nation people because that dratted Assad is already cutting deals with the Russians and Indians to rebuild Syria's infrastructure.
TRANSLATION OF THE TRANSLATION: We have the responsibility to protect by chopping nations into more nations and working with our military to protect these fledgling nations by developing them.
META-TRANSLATION: See our publications, available at Amazon:
Balkanization and Mini-Country Development for Dummies
No Sect is Too Small to Deserve its Own Nation
In summary, the NATO goal is no longer to conquer Russia; it's to break it into 20 countries. But Steve shouldn't think this is Russophobia or a new Cold War. It's nothing personal; it's just development. When they run out of Russia to balkanize, and all other countries to balkanize, they'll balkanize their own. Then they'll start in on the moon.