If there was ever a Valentine’s Day which highlight the stark differences to diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia it is this one.
In Warsaw, the U.S. cajoled some sixty countries, many of them Arab, to send representatives only to be scolded like schoolchildren by Vice President Mike Pence for undermining the drive for war with Iran.
Mike Pompeo, for his part, showed no signs of shame or remorse after his public rebuke by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
Szijjarto retorted to Pompeo’s lecturing that “the world is not going to be a better place if some countries spend their time intervening in the internal political affairs of other countries.” He insisted that Budapest can have transparent relations with Moscow and Beijing and the West, and said it was an “enormous hypocrisy” that Hungary is singled out for its ties with Moscow.
He then went to Poland with the intention of whipping up support for a war with Iran. But not to actually call it that. Until Benjamin Netanyahu arrived with fever dreams on his lips.
As Moon of Alabama pointed out, this was a huge slap for Pompeo, whose staff kept trying to downplay the anti-Iran nature of the Poland fiasco to make it more palatable for media consumption.
By claiming that the conference is about waging war on Iran Netanyahoo is not only embarrassing the State Department and Secretary Mike Pompeo. He also makes it extremely difficult for other attendees to justify their presence. The Arabs will be especially furious that they are shown in such an open alliance with Israel and its hostility against Iran. Scheming with Israel in the dark is fine. But being publicly associated with a war mongering Israel is difficult to sell to their people. It would be unsurprising to see some of them leave.
The entire Warsaw meeting was designed to impress upon everyone how seriously they should take U.S. and Israeli desires for regime change in Iran. And how committed they are to keeping everyone in the fold on all matters pertaining to the Trump administration’s hostility towards Iran, Russia, and China.
This is part of a wider set of actions, taken broadly, designed to hit the headlines all at the same time:
- U.S. is openly pushing for regime change in Venezuela and drumming up international support for it.
- It is also urging EU Parliamentarians to push through new pipeline rules as part of changes to the EU’s Third Energy Package to try and stop the Nordstream 2 pipeline from being completed.
- New sanctions were placed on Russia a few days after Moody’s had to accede to reality and upgrade Russian government debt to investment grade, which will only accelerate foreign capital inflows into Russia.
Pompeo and Netanyahu were putting the world on notice that they are not only 1) insane but 2) committed to their path to braying for war. While, as Elijah Magnier points out, the entire dog and pony show in Warsaw was for Netanyahu’s re-election bid amidst cabinet resignations and corruption scandals.
At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Sochi to discuss the next phase of bringing peace to Syria.
These three countries continue moving the ball forward pragmatically and diplomatically to resolve the issues left by the U.S.’s insistence on staying in Syria.
Putin, with the iron fist firmly in his velvet glove, said two things that are important in his post-meeting remarks .
The first will give the frothing red-baiting, Trump-hating buffoons in the U.S. media and foreign policy establishments a fit of the vapors.
“President Trump is quite actively working on fulfilling his election campaign promises, which in practice rarely happens in the US political life. The withdrawal of the American troops from Syria was one of those promises,” Putin said.
Think of the thirteen different ways Rachel Maddow will spin this simple statement of truth by Putin. He’s got the goods on Trump. Putin wouldn’t say this if Trump were working for the U.S. Yadda Yadda Yadda.
This type of naked stupidity used to be frowned upon now it is openly encouraged at every level of the U.S. and European narrative machines.
But regardless of that, Putin is right to encourage Trump to fulfill that campaign promise because that is the quickest path to peace in Syria, a U.S. troop withdrawal.
Putin continued, “If that happens the only right decision in terms of security would be handing over those territories under the control of the Syrian armed forces.”
And that is his way of saying that he has control of Turkish President Erdogan and will not let the Syrian Kurds be attacked. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not make reconciliation between his government and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Council easy. But it will be better than anything Erdogan would offer them.
But, then again, they lost their gambit for independence the day Barzani’s Peshmerga forces were destroyed in Erbil, Iraq last year by the Iraqi militia known as the Popular Mobilization Unit.
Erdogan’s biggest worry is the U.S. leaving the Kurds weapons after leaving to be a constant annoyance on Turkey’s border. That’s the Bolton way of doing things.
Putin also stressed that Erdogan’s pet terrorists in Idlib province are to be wiped out as part of the plan to stabilize Syria. These are all wins for Syria diplomatically, establishing Turkey as Russia’s subordinate in the power structure to reshape the Middle East.
The fact that Erdogan was not in Warsaw with his NATO allies but rather at a high level summit with the Russian and Iranian presidents tells you all you need to know about where he feels his future lies.
Then again, I’ve taken for granted that Erdogan is still a NATO member in name only for a couple of years now, so I wasn’t surprised by this.
Lastly, don’t overlook the Saudi’s offer to Putin recently about creating a new OPEC+ cartel with Russia and Saudi Arabia leading it. Trump’s own plans for Middle East peace rest on the Saudis keeping the rest of the Gulf States in line, which is why there was nothing on the agenda about ending the conflict in Yemen.
In the end, the Neocons in D.C. and Tel Aviv are showing real desperation in summoning everyone to Poland while having almost no support for the intended policy, war with Iran.
You can only hold onto people for so long through fear of retribution. Eventually, they realize you can’t attack everyone at once all the time, though Trump and company are certainly willing to give it the old college try.
As each instance of disobedience occurs and punishment is ineffective — Erdogan is still in power despite a coup attempt and a currency attack, for example — the bolder allies will become in their own defiance.