Saeed just sent this piece from Middle East Eye on oil and gas aspects of the Syrian horror. It’s one-sidedly silent on the designs of the west, and speaks of Russia’s “imbalanced reactions” to having one of its planes shot down by Turkey. I’m not sure what a “balanced” reaction to the latter would look like, and the author doesn’t enlighten us. Certainly, a case can be made for saying Moscow showed more restraint than Washington would have shown in responding to a provocation some middle east watchers link to Ankara defending its oil dealings with Isis.
All the same it’s well worth the read, not least for a good summary in its opening paragraphs of what Saddam was up to when he invaded Kuwait. Me, I see Russia’s involvement as on balance a good thing, though (a) she is of course pursuing her own interests and (b) the situation in Syria is more dangerous as a result. It’s just that I don’t see anything more frightening right now than unchecked US dominance, and the doctrine of exceptionalism it unleashed.
On that last, I’m in the early stages of a longer post on the games being played out between on the one hand the US and front organisations NATO and the IMF; on the other China and Russia. The war in Syria, dubbed the Pipeline War by some, is one strand of those games. Another is December’s changes in IMF rules to allow Ukraine to stiff Russia on a sovereign debt without jeopardising – indeed, making it a condition of – its ability to borrow from the IMF. There are signs here of recklessness and an overplaying of Washington’s hand. Cooperation between China and Russia – based on the former’s financial muscle, the latter’s energy reserves and the sidelining of both powers by a dollar driven financial order laid down after WW2 at Bretton Woods – may actually hasten the very scenario Washington has consistently and, since the fall of the USSR, brazenly sought to avert. That scenario being a global alternative to the dollar, to the IMF as sovereign lender of last resort and hence to US ability to bully nation after nation into a choice between on the one hand insolvency; on the other IMF dictated austerity: aka transfer of state assets to a global elite while living standards for the many go through the floor.
We live in interesting times.