Israel Shamir: Firmness of Russian Leadership Is a Source of Optimism

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Between Russia and the West a new phase of escalation began. According to some experts, the level of it approached the same level of spring and autumn of 2014. In Russia the testing of civil defence services are being held, in Saint Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko signed the decree on the daily allowance of bread in case of emergencies or war. “We, to be honest, have had for a long time what the Americans call “strategic patience,” said the Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov.

On the background of this, since 3rd October, Russia suspended the agreement with the US on the utilisation of plutonium. The bill introduced by Vladimir Putin in the State Duma, in fact, is an ultimatum for the United States: Russia will return to negotiations if the US lifts all sanctions, will compensate for the damages, and will withdraw some troops from Eastern Europe.

A threat to attack our troops in Syria was made by the West, where, at a time of US Presidential elections, politicians are already lose their temper.

It soon became known that in the Republic the S-300 “Antey-2500” will be deployed, and the Defense Ministry started to talk about the resumption of presence at Lourdes and Cam Ranh Bay, and already today the Federation Council ratified the agreement on the indefinite stay of the airforce in Syria.

Writer and journalist Israel Shamir calls not to fear another rise of militaristic rhetoric from the West, he is full of optimism, because he is sure that the tactic of raising the stakes is the only correct thing to do in the position of Russia. He said this in an interview with

Question: You affirm that Russia is now cleverly raising the stakes, and that America can really retreat? But what is the source of your optimism?

“Russia has no choice. Strategic adversary anyway plays this game, and Russia is not in a position to not pay attention to this and “go shopping or to have a manicure”. This game started a long time ago, and Russia plays it as well as possible. And it is here where the source of my optimism lies.”

Question: But aren’t the Americans  the best at this game? You once said that the chicken race, a game where two cars on the track head towards each other until someone steers away, is popular in the United States, not only on the road but in the same way Americans do business.

“They love this game and they know how to play it. But now their position has a funny weakness. The Americans unleash war, the causes of which are hilarious. If the irreparable happens, the parties will die simply from laughing when they realize what they got themselves into. The Americans want to unleash world war for the right of al-Qaeda to remain in Aleppo. If we consider that before this they fought to dislodge al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. It turns out that the reason for war is a kind of schizophrenic love between America and al-Qaeda, and now an alliance with al-Qaeda.

However, if we look at the situation more deeply, we understand that the deal of course is not al Qaeda, not even the desire to help Israel, although presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke and wrote about this, and not in the Qatar oil pipeline or gas pipeline. Everything is much more hilarious (and, at the same time, more tragic) – it’s all in the desire of American leaders to show each other how close they can come to the edge of the abyss. Such is their “boys game”.

Question: Lavrov’s Statements about radical changes in Russian-American relations, about the “aggressive Russophobia” of the United States, that “strategic patience” has finished – how would you comment on this?

“It is a very good point. Let’s look at it in light of the decision on plutonium and uranium, and these are two different decrees, which we combine. Both these decisions conclude an era that began in 1986, which is a reminder of the fact that from this time it is possible to calculate the beginning of Gorbachev’s surrender to the West. At this time we promised to reforge the swords, refused to possess our missiles and bombs – let it rot. Now this era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin is over.”

Question: The fact that the era of Yeltsin and Gorbachev ended is also the source of your optimism?

“The source of my optimism is in my hope for the firmness of the Russian leadership, because there is no replacement for this. Strong will and intelligent policies – these are the things that, in the end, will help us to win.”

Question: You say that the US leadership will see, come to its senses, and retreat, but sometimes I have the feeling that it is already unable either to come to its sense or at least see something.

“If unable, it means then we will say that, apparently, mankind’s desire to end its existence was too strong. We also didn’t promise to save mankind from committing suicide – if they really want it so much, then what can we do?”

Question: There is the opinion that our ultimatum on plutonium and uranium simply didn’t reach Western media, as if supposedly the newspaper considered it unimportant and simply cut this part from their publications. Is it really so?

“The Western media only pays attention to what aligns with their view of the world. There’s an old joke, in which Hitler says that if he had such TV [like now], in this case the whole world would never have learned that he lost the war. For European readers, this falls on deaf ears. But let me remind you, just to demonstrate how it’s done. The published “emails” in which Hillary Clinton demanded to kill Julian Assange with a drone, who is in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Which reaction followed in the international media? And let’s imagine that now, just for example, a telegram of Putin would appear, in which he requires to kill Litvinenko. What would happened after this? The Western media would immediately demand his transfer to the Hague for trial, I think.

And even if the European reader and the viewer does not know about Putin’s ultimatum, and even, yes, the enemy has a huge well-oiled media machine, the politicians are in the know, especially US ones. Because they read not only their media. So, I think this will have an effect.”

Question: How will it have an effect, when will it finish, in your opinion?

“Everything depends on all of us. Tomorrow is the result of our joint action. If we will strive for this – everything will be good, but if we will do it carelessly – it’s all going to end badly. Everyone at his fighting position: journalists write, soldiers defend, commanders make deliberate, intelligent decisions. Everyone does the maximum in their own way.


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