Sunday, August 26, 2018

Putin Seeking Not Just New Sphere of Influence But Changes in Rules on How It is Defined, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 26 – Vladimir Putin is not just seeking international recognition of a new Russian sphere of influence but also the imposition of new rules on Western democracies as to how such spheres are defined -- and rules that will ensure the democracies always lose, according to Aleksandr Skobov.

            The Moscow commentator says the latest intensification in Russian-American relations in Syria “was absolutely predictable.  It is perfectly obvious that the group of rightist conservatives who are in power in the US not without the help of the Kremlin has conducted a serious behind the scenes trade with Putin” about Syria (

            Trump, “as a representative of rightist conservative reaction, is not at all against a return of the world to good old imperialist principles, when the strong powers according to bandit understandings divide among themselves ‘the periphery,’” Skobov continues.

            “Naturally for this, politicians must operate with widely closed eyes to the crudest violations of norms of law, ordinary and humanitarian,” the commentator says. But here “arises a problem: the Kremlin and even the most reactionary Western politicians have very different understandings of the necessary and permissible hypocrisy.”

            According to Skobov, it is likely that “during the trade, the Americans and their allies obtained from Putin an agreement to observe at least some proprieties in the part of Syria under his control.”  The Kremlin leader “like always” promised everything but also “as always” immediately did what he wanted.

            “Even the most right-wind conservative could become angry when he is so openly played with in this way,” the commentator argues. To think otherwise about Asad’s use of chemical weapons is possible only among those who do not believe Russia shot down the Malaysian airliner or who do think the US staged the moon landing in a building on earth.

            The only fall back for the right in the West is to convince themselves that neither Asad nor Putin are prepared to pay any political price for the use of chemical weapons.

            “Putin’s policy is consistent and is intended to force the West to agree to close its eyes to the violations of the norms of law (up to and including crimes) far more broadly and hypocritically than the West is prepared to do today,” Skobov says.

            “Putin has gotten from the West silence recognition that in his ‘sphere of imperial domination,’ he (or any of his ‘clients’ with his agreement) can in general do whatever he wants, including commit any military crimes. The Asad chemical attacks are demonstrative actions to force the West to such an agreement.”
            According to Skobov, “the right of center Western politicians veery much want to agree with Putin on the division of the world into ‘spheres of influence.’ But Putin is not seeking to fix his own ‘sphere of influence.’ He is seeking a change in the rules for dominating such a sphere” and he is making significant progress toward that goal.

            “Putin has imposed on Western democracies rules by which they will always lose, because they are all the same limited by certain proprieties, and thus they must either completely subordinate themselves to these rules or at some point decide on a military response to the Kremlin,” Skobov concludes. 

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