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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

22:00:48
23/06/2017

nalin.ru

The political scientist, economist, and specialist in local conflicts and military-political problems Dmitry Evstafyev spoke to Maria Yakubovich about the relations between Russia and the West, the roots of the Syrian conflict, and the Russian role in it.


Relations between Russia and the West become more and more intense, the anti-Russian rhetoric reached its limit, already nobody speaks about the lifting of sanctions. How do you see international relations now? And how, in your opinion, did everything begin?

“Nobody cancelled the formula ‘politics is the concentrated expression of economy’. At the root of everything that we observed in the last decades in the world and around our country is the economy.

The leading countries prepare for the radical reorganization of the global economy. And at the same time undertake convulsive attempts to delay the beginning of the active phase of this reorganization. Nervousness and inconsistency in international relations stem from this contradictory underlying aspect.

While how beautifully everything began! The wonderful formula was built by the late Zbigniew Brzezinski: ‘The new world order under the hegemony of the US is being created against Russia, at the expense of Russia, and on the fragments of Russia’.

And it was indeed like that. Up to 2005 the wellbeing of the West was provided by extracting out all possible resources from the countries of the post-Soviet space. Not only from Russia, but primarily from Russia, because indeed nobody had a pity for her. Generations of wealth in the West grew on the money and resources extracted from the former USSR. And these people were those who didn’t previously have any chances to become rich.

Then it became more difficult. The concepts of a ‘energy superpower’ and ‘sovereign democracy’ announced at the beginning of the 2000’s (in fact, the proto-ideology of the Russian ruling class) limited the possibilities of extracting resources.

Critics of the model of ‘energy superpower’ can be told: it was the only format in which the western elite were ready to agree with the existence of our country as a unified state. In case of other options the process of its territorial partition would be launched. And believe me, the West had good chances of success. And the ‘Washington Consensus of Kudrin’ was a big step forward in comparison with the 1990’s. Resources already weren’t extracted by wagons, but were transferred for use (it was implied that it was eternal) in a civilized format, through the purchase of bonds.

But the pro-Western, London Russian elite again wanted slightly more. It was also ready in the same way to bring a tribute to the Horde, but on the condition that it will receive a ‘shortcut’ not only to Russia, but also to all the post-Soviet space that didn’t enter into the formal West. For this purpose the West had to recognize the existence in Russia of special interests: in particular in Eurasia and in the sphere of security as a whole. I.e. to limit themselves.”

Apparently, you mean the Munich speech.

“Yes, precisely. This proposal was made to the West by Vladimir Putin in 2007 in the Munich speech. And, logically, the West simply couldn’t refuse it. Only a madman who lost touch with economic reality could reject such an offer.

But they rejected it. For two reasons. In the western elite ideologists for who ‘values’ were more important than money began to dominate, which the Russian elite of 2007 couldn’t imagine, even in a bad dream. And the second thing (and the most important) – the West began to approach an unpleasant moment when its economy started becoming more and more unprofitable.

In 2008 the financial crisis in the US started, which soon became global. The world felt an enormous shock, and Russia understood the scale of the financial vacuum cleaner through which its resources were extracted. And then – the August war [Georgia – ed]: the disavowal of all offers of Russia about the continuation of partnership and the demonstration by the West of its readiness for a direct confrontation. In the Pentagon the possibility of a nuclear attack on the Roki tunnel was seriously discussed.

And the demonstration of the fact that the West needs everything, and not just a part. Unlimited access to resources and finance, like in the 1990’s. Since 2008 the main, but not advertized line of the West in relation to Russia – return to the condition of the year 2000.

And in August-beginning of September, 2010, the ‘Arab spring’ started (pay attention how densely events happen, this is a sign of a geopolitical time of trouble) in a very strange part of the Arab world, in a godforsaken place – Western Sahara. Then it is transferred to Morocco, Tunisia, and then everywhere. By 2012 it starts smoking even in Saudi Arabia: in the US it is said at a serious level that supposedly there isn’t a lot of democracy in Saudi Arabia and the rights of gays are badly protected. Two years of everything – and the entire region is on fire.”

It strongly resembles the dismantlement of the USSR.

“Of course! In conditions when the Russian ‘vacuum cleaner’ ceased to bring the desired volumes of resources when the Russian elite (its political and ideological part, but in no small measure also the economic one) began to demand for itself a bigger status, the West was compelled to create a vacuum cleaner again, in a new region. And it created it.

According to the most conservative estimates during the ‘Arab spring’ no less than 650 and even 800 billion dollars were extracted from the region. Moreover, real and not virtual money. All money that could run from the Arab East still continues to run from there.

And this is in addition to the money that was simply appropriated by western, first of all European, elite. Remember the most vulgar story about the disappeared billions of Gaddafi.”

And how exactly do you consider the Russian intervention worked in this conflict?

“For the first time the ‘Arab spring’ slowed down in the summer of 2012, when pro-American Islamists didn’t manage to take Aleppo in Syria. Let’s not forget the financial exhaustion of Saudi Arabia and its problem in Yemen. But effective Russian participation indeed made the project of the ‘Arab spring’ finally irrelevant.

After all, the ‘cold war’ at its core also had not so much ideology or politics, but economy. The US, USSR, and Great Britain also fought for the more favorable geoeconomic configuration of the world. And the first loser in that cold war became Great Britain.”

So how does the present situation differ from the previous cold war? Is it a new “cold war” or not yet?

“The ‘cold war’ lost by us was characterized by three circumstances: an ideological saturation, the controllability of military-political confrontation (what is called ‘playing the game by the rules’), and economic isolation.

The first. Now the West was able to restore ideological contraposition between itself and Russia, which reflects not only a certain condition of public opinion, but also the interests of key economic groups.

The second. The rules in the military and power sphere today already almost don’t exist anymore. The fact that the West is already close to the exit of the framework is shown by the direct cooperation of the US and Great Britain with radical Islamic organizations. During the ‘cold war’ such frank action was only at the beginning of the formation of a system of deterrence (until 1961), or already at the time of Ronald Reagan. When the USSR was frankly being finished off.

While the global economy is still open. But when system restrictions on economic interaction will start being recreated (sanctions is the first step in this direction), when the question will be raised about the emergence of principally different rules of the game (for example, rules of investment activity), then we will be able to say: yes, we are a half step from the beginning of a new ‘cold war’.”

I remember we had many hopes for a partnership with Europe, first of all with Germany. Why didn’t it happen?

“What is Germany? The leader of the European economy, a country that develops the most dynamically in Europe. Satellites that provide stability of the economy of the ‘metropolis’ are concentrated around it.

Our mistake is that we evaluated the Germany of the second half of 2010 on the image of the Germany of the 1970’s – 1980’s. Germany isn’t like that anymore. Now it is rather a neo-colonialist predator, which provides itself with cheap resources and takes a margin from the territories dependant on it. Yes, sometimes entering into conflict with the all-European structures and the US, which also want to have their share.

The Germans do it rigidly, consistently, and incredibly cynically. If we think that the German capitalist who cries in front of a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust somehow differs in mentality from the German capitalist who used the labour of the prisoners of concentration camps, we are strongly mistaken. Modern German capitalism is a blueprint from the Soviet textbook where ‘neo-colonialism’ was described, which we attributed to Americans. Although their approach was different.

While Germany simply considers Europe as its colonial empire.

Since 2000 the nominal GDP of Germany went into the red only once – in the crisis of 2009. Now compare it to the dynamics of GDP of all the other countries of Europe. And after all it happens in a deeply interconnected economic system. In other words, Germany becomes stronger whereas other European countries either degrade or with difficulty break even.

Germans consistently like egg through a straw sucked up the contents from the Baltic countries, then came the turn of Eastern Europe, today – the Balkans. What did Bulgaria – blossoming and successful thirty years ago – turn into? A shell that is pasted with tourist posters, and inside – untidy garbage! The Pyrenean countries – Portugal, Spain – were also sucked dry, and then they even mocked, disseminating in the media the humiliating name ‘PIGS group’. Greece? Here in general it is better to be silent. And now the turn of Italy and France came.

Merkel also already creeps up on Great Britain, avoiding the discussion about the ‘British cheque’. This is the historically-based tax privilege of Britain for non-participation in the general agrarian policy. A trifle, only 4.6 billion euros, but a good test balloon, which created tensions among all Brits.”

And what place then does Russia occupy in this process?

“And then it was our turn. Taking into account the fact that the British elite showed prudence and sailed away, the turn of Russia would’ve come already now. And, believe me, they would suck us dry without any pity. The gloomy German economic genie would’ve been especially cruel because the question here is about the preservation of stability in metropolis. We were rescued by Crimea.

By the way, the first signs that German business passes from dialogue with Russia about ‘interaction on favorable terms’ to dialogue by the principle of unlimited access were outlined already in 2011 — 2012 – when the German capital showed its teeth to the Russian government in discussion about the regime of an industrial assembly of cars in Russia. It would seem that it was a trifle. But for the people who understood the context, this trifle wasn’t an accident. So the Germans were proposed to play favourably ‘in the long run’, they chose smaller money, but for the here and now. The conclusion lay on the surface – already then they didn’t count on a long partnership with Russia, already then they put a stake on the fact that they will receive everything.

Also the strategic support by German business of Angela Merkel is not a coincidence. We constantly say that Merkel acts contrary to the interests of German business. We see it in this way. But ‘Merkel’ is not a person, but a long-term vector of development of Germany. Economic interests are the cornerstone of this vector.

While relations between the US and Germany very much fit into a classical Soviet formula ‘aggravation of imperialistic contradictions’. The US can’t force the situation around Iran, and more so – China. In order to subordinate Beijing, it is necessary to indicatively solve the problem with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Germany stumbled in Ukraine, entered into conflict with Poland, and didn’t have success with Russia at all. Without having the opportunity to expand cardinally a control zone, two predators try to tug away from each other pieces of the available operational space.

In general it is favorable for Russia. Let them fight for now.”

It turns out that a “cold war” in its economic form nevertheless is already ongoing. Is an all-embracing new cold war inevitable?

“A ‘cold war’ nevertheless is a complex system. So far it hasn’t completely been created. But, I will agree, we are already very close to its edge.

The dismantlement of that economic (and as a result – political) system that we have existed in for the last thirty years is inevitable. While in what form and to what depth it will occur, so far is difficult to tell. The problem of a new ‘cold war’ is in the fact that political and economic lines of differentiation now lie not on ‘colonial space’ and not across ownerless territory, as it was when the inheritance of the Soviet Union was being extracted. These lines start to lie across the territory of member countries of the Great Game themselves.”

Will Russia be able to endure it?

“As is said, ‘there is also good news’. Russia is not too badly prepared for the recutting of the operational space – both in the scenario of the ‘cold war’ and in the scenario of ‘warm peace’. In Syria we showed how it is possible to use military force for strategic economic interests. With little losses on others’ territory. Yes, there were losses, and losses happen even now, and every loss must be appreciated and mourned. And to remember. But the strategic result is reached. We are in demand as the stabilizing force in the world (by the way, unlike the same Germany and China). And besides Syria there is also Libya, Egypt, and many other countries, valuable to the future system of world economy.

And in general, let our children imitate our military, our heroes in Syria! And not drug addicts, bankers or prostitutes. It is much more interesting and useful for the future for both them and the country. A very important social moment.

This, in fact, is indeed the image of the future, which so many talk about.”

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  • Vtran

    Break apart ….. East / Asia/ Latin / Most ME/ Africa Do not need West … so let the 40 odd West country’s go there own way and the other 180 in another Block !