One year back at this time, all of Obama’s proxy war bets were going well. Ukraine’s rebel block was in bad shape, Russian economy was in free fall, Eurozone was booming, ISIS was ready to strike at the heart of Damascus and Saudis confidently marched into Yemen expecting to control the place within a month. Even the Greeks were excited with the election of Varoufakis as finance minister.
Fast forward to today, and you see -
(i) Greece folded with Varoufakis being kicked out by EU bankers and the savings of ordinary people being taken away,
(ii) European economy is in the gutter and on top of that there is a major refugee crisis,
(iii) Syrian civil war is over with ISIS almost gone,
(iv) Erdogan exposed as the ISIS mastermind,
(v) Major terror attacks in Paris and Brussels with possibly more to come elsewhere in Europe,
(vi) Yemen, one of the poorest country, humiliated Saudis,
(vii) Last, but not the least, Russia re-established itself as a major power.
Those reading our blog should have anticipated most of those outcomes, if not all. Here are the three pointers to help you navigate through the next decades. Brief explanation follows at the bottom of the post.
Sale of major Rosneft stake to CNPC signals strengthening ties between China and Russia
China National Petroleum Corp. Deputy Chief Executive Wang Zhongcai said the company is interested in purchasing a stake in Rosneft, Russias state-owned oil company. The sale would strengthen the ties between the two countries, which have increasingly been working together on energy projects.
Russia needs the cash
Russia is looking to sell a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, the worlds largest listed crude producer, as it looks for ways to bridge its fiscal gap amid low oil prices. The Russian government has said the stake is worth $10 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The seven-decade-old bilateral relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is in rough waters. On seemingly every major issue of importance in the Middle East, Washington and Riyadh are either locking horns on strategy or arguing with one another over how a particular goal should be met.
More often than not, the Obama administration and the al-Saud ruling family share the very same objectives in the region. Both, for instance, want Bashar al-Assads rule to end in Syria; both wish that Yemens internationally recognized government will eventually have the strength to reinstate itself in the capital; and U.S. and Saudi leaders are increasingly of one mind on the barbarity that the Islamic State represents.
3. The foreign policy of Donald Trump, the next US president -
Analysis - geopolitics as we expect to develop
1. The beginning of multipolar world:
The humiliation of Obama and neocons is one of the fastest since Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. Therefore, this event will define world events for many decades. Just like France disappeared from the global scene after 1810s leaving the British empire reign unopposed for a century, USA will slowly move out of the global scene. Donald Trump’s speech is pretty much the beginning of defining that course.
2. Russia/China/Iran triple alliance:
Increasing alliance between Russia and China (and soon Iran) will define the center of gravity of economic affairs in the world.
3. Rotation from coast to land:
Right now, you see various coastal cities in Europe, Asia and Americas as prosperous, while the inner regions struggle. That was not how the world appeared three centuries back, when Afghanistan was a prosperous country and Persia (Iran) was another. In contrast, people were afraid to live in the coastal cities to avoid pirates and other sea-based hazards. Then the sea- based commerce took over, eventually leading to the prosperity of coastal cities.
We are now beginning to see a reversal to land-based trade activities starting with the ‘new silk road’ efforts by China, and this reversal will last many centuries.
4. Fall of Saudi Arabia and Turkey:
The most immediate impact of rapid and unexpected defeat of neocons will be the fall of their middle eastern proxies - Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The process is well underway.
Here is how much importance NY Times gives to an event of enormous global significance (h/t: nakedcapitalism blog) -
The great investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, in two previous articles in the London Review of Books (“Whose Sarin?” and “The Red Line and the Rat Line”) has reported that the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syrias Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria; and Hersh pointed to a report from British intelligence saying that the sarin that was used didnt come from Assads stockpiles. Hersh also said that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad.
“By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafis arsenals into Syria.”
Hersh didnt say whether these ‘arms’ included the precursor chemicals for making sarin which were stockpiled in Libya, but there have been multiple independent reports that Libyas Gaddafi possessed such stockpiles, and also that the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a “rat line” for Gaddafis captured weapons into Syria through Turkey. So, Hersh isnt the only reporter who has been covering this. Indeed, the investigative journalist Christoph Lehmann headlined on 7 October 2013, “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria” and reported, on the basis of very different sources than Hersh used, that:
“Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabias Interior Ministry.”
Remember that Russia’s stopping of that invasion in 2013 was the beginning of the end for the Obama team. So, those following the events closely sensed major change in wind direction at that time.
Once all dust clears, Iran will take control of middle east. Therefore, Trump’s plan to ‘keep Iran under control’ will be too late, when it arrives.