The Trump regime’s policy of courting Russia is designed to de-link it from China and Iran, two countries being targeted by the US. Will it succeed?
Donald Trump may be a certified lunatic but the warlords he has assembled in his cabinet are no dunces; they are all serial killers and directly responsible for the mayhem and bloodshed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia — to name just a few places. Many of them also have close links with the merchants of death (aka arms manufacturers) that are in the business of initiating wars so that they can sell more of their murderous wares.
While Trump is involved in a running battle with the mainstream media — may they continue to be at each other’s throats forever — the social media is also full of commentary about the “deep state” trying to sabotage Trump’s efforts at improving relations with Russia. There is a grain of truth in this but the larger reality is somewhat different. If Trump and his trigger-happy mass murderers are keen on improving relations with Moscow, it is because they want to create a rift between Russia and China.
China is a growing power. Its economy will soon surpass that of the US. Militarily, too, China is a power to reckon with. Barack Obama’s “Asia pivot” is also being pursued by Trump. The US, however, does not have a very impressive military record. Despite being the most militarized state in the world — at $600 billion its military budget is the largest in the world and more than the next 10 countries put together. Yet, America has not given a good account of itself in any of the wars it has launched. It has never fought any war on its own barring its attack on fun-loving Grenada in 1983 when it conquered all 110,000 Grenadians while they were sunbathing on the beaches! The US and its allies have always attacked as wolves do, in a pack. This was the case in Afghanistan and Iraq and the US is pursuing the same policy in Syria.
In confronting China, the US is working on a similar plan. It has tried to rope in India and Japan for its China containment policy. The move to get Russia on board is part of the same strategy. While Japan is not likely to join any military alliance, India will not be much help either. The last time the Indians tried to pick a fight with the Chinese was in November 1962. They got such a beating that Indian soldiers not only abandoned their weapons but in many cases, also fled without their shoes. The Hindus are not likely to take on China again.
So what is the US game plan vis-à-vis Russia? Trump’s appointment of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state is meant to send a signal that Washington is keen on improving relations with Moscow. But this has a price. The heightened rhetoric against Russia is meant to set the stage so that when a deal is struck, Trump can say to the Russians that he resisted the “deep state.” And what is it that the US wants from Russia? It wants a grand bargain: in return for lifting sanctions and accepting Russia’s occupation of the Crimea, the US wants it to enter into an anti-China alliance. Also, it wants to create differences between Russia and Iran.
What are the chances of Russia accepting such a US deal? At present, this appears highly unlikely. The Russians know that the US is an unreliable partner. In the 1980s when then Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to Glasnost (openness that ultimately led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union itself), it was on the specific understanding that NATO would not encroach on Russia’s areas of influence, especially in Eastern Europe. The US has never fulfilled its agreements. NATO has made inroads into areas and countries right on the border with Russia and it still accuses Moscow of acting belligerently.
In any case, the US is a has-been power; China is the emerging superpower and future economic and political action will occur on the Eurasian landmass. Russia sees its future tied to Eurasia and, therefore, to China rather than to the hypocritical promises of the US. This also explains why Russia has in recent years improved ties with Pakistan. There appears to be a convergence of interests between Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan as well as the Central Asian republics. The US has no role in this. In fact, it can only act as a spoiler, a prospect the Russian leaders are keenly aware of.
Washington’s animosity toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is precisely because Tehran has maintained its independence and dignity despite extreme hostility from the American warlords. Tehran has not only stood its ground but also made impressive gains in almost all fields, economic, political, scientific and military. This drives the American warlords crazy. They cannot tolerate a country standing on its own. The Islamic Revolution has driven a nail in the coffin of the US-led global order and, therefore, of imperialism itself. The logic of Iran’s resistance spreading and other countries waking up to this reality is what drives Uncle Sam up the wall.
American policy even under Trump must be seen in this light.
The article has been originally published in Crescent International.