Sunday, April 15, 2018

West has No Strategy for Dealing with Russia Beyond Hope for Regime Change, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 15 – Russia has come out of the latest Western airstrikes against Syria a winner, Irina Pavlova says, because it has a strategy to deal with the West, a strategy based on the Stalinist model from the 1930s and because “the West does not have one regarding Russia” except for vague hopes that somehow Vladimir Putin will soon exit the scene.

            The US-based Russian historian says that this lack of a strategy is reflected in the recent remarks of President Donald Trump but that his ideas are the product of the almost complete failure to take seriously the nature of the Russian regime or come up with real ideas on how to respond (

                As a result, Pavlova continues, “we observe from [Trump’s] side chaotic actions in the form of harsh rhetoric, sanctions against particular oligarchs and threats to expand them, something which only unites the population of Russia around the powers in the Kremlin” and does nothing to change Putin’s policies in a positive direction.

            If the West doesn’t have a strategy, Moscow very much does. It is “the great power approach of the Stalinist type” which today, in the wake of the attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites, allows it to “occupy again the position of moral superiority” despite all that Russia has done.

            Thus, “the Kremlin today is positioning itself as a consistent fighter for peace and collective security even while it is secretly and quite skillfully undermining these things.”  Such “a double game” was characteristic of Stalin’s policies in the 1930s up to the point when it was expelled from the League of Nations for its invasion of Finland.

            Now, in a direction “continuation of this very same tradition, Putin, responding to the attack of the Western powers, describes it as aggression and accuses these countries of destructive actions against the entire system of international relations” just as in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya.

            No one in Washington may want to admit this, but as a result, Putin like Stalin before him is picking up support instead of further isolating himself because of his own criminal actions.  Only if the West recognizes what it is really up against in Moscow is there any chance that it will come up with a strategy to address it, Pavlova suggests.

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