Does the world remember President Clintonʼs moment of uncontrolled laughter during his joint press conference with President Yeltsin in the Kremlin? Moments like this of multifaceted joy between the two countries are archived in history. Meanwhile, the West went chanting victory and impatiently traveling on book tour to tell the world about his story of – the “War on Terror.”
Hence the defeated camp, Moscow, begins thinking of a new strategy and how to bring Russiaʼs ancient glory back to the world stage. Russia progressively woke up from its geo-political coma. First, it applied a political tactic that led the West to believe that Russiaʼs case was closed and it had become one of them. The Russian leadership espoused the sacred-saint capitalistic economy and political model, free market, and “political pluralism,” then integrated the club of the super rich countries: G7+Russia=G8.
Whereas, the strategy of buying time helped Russia to recover, the years went on and so did world affairs. After Russia got what it needed from the West: trust; they began to feel solid and stronger. In 2000, a politician occupied the lodge of the Kremlin, whose character is a mix of Machiavelli and Nietzsche, with a background of world spying; he is very familiar with the complex game of national and international politics. President Putin considers himself Russiaʼs Czar of the 21st century, is a leader who never pardoned the West, particularly his former satellite countries and the former Soviet Republics for becoming adults.
He kept his influence on the Central Asian regimes; he squashed an autonomist movement in Chechnya, he destabilized his southern neighbor, Ukraine and annexed Crimea from Kiev with the sour consent of the West.
But his big challenge is in the southwest of Russia, the two sworn enemies of Russia: Ukraine and Georgia. The two countries clearly showed their pro-Western political orientation toward Washington and Brussels, despite the resistance and interference of Moscow. Until, an unwise Georgian President was democratically elected, whose
political narcissism and ego pushed him to anger the enraged beast that caused the destruction of his fragile army.
Then-President Saakashvilli got the green light from his masters in Washington, ordering his forces to assault South Ossetia, an enclave that made an allegiance with Moscow early in 1991 and with it Abkhazia.
Consequently, the Russian bear used this as an alibi to respond overwhelmingly to the Georgian attack in the same way as Israel reacted to the Hezb Allah provocation in July 2006, Hamas in 2008 and 2014. However, the calls to end this conflict are not just belated communiqués, but strong words from Washington to Brussels.
The West lectured the world about Russiaʼs tank parades in Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968, not to mention Afghanistan in 1979, of course no word about Chechnya in 1999, the West mutism has continued in the on-going Syrian civil war and not to mention the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Did the West act then besides through rhetorical condemnations?
Russia has benefited a great deal from the New World Disorder, and the post-Cold War strategic mistakes. Although the U.S. was busy dealing with its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, causing it the loss of its credibility on the world stage, the high demand for gas in Europe and beyond made Russia play hardball with the E.U. leaders, warning them: be careful what you wish for. Similarly, Russia is telling the amateur leaders in Tbilisi, Kiev and the Caucasian enclaves do not forget that you are still under my mercy.
Russia is using the gas weapon as a tool of its post-Cold War hegemony for its international comportment towards its neighboring countries and the E.U. As a result, the West answered to Russiaʼs regional demands in consideration, trying to engage Moscow diplomatically, economically and sportily. The West needs Russia, for instance in the Iranian nuclear dossier and its “cow boy” foreign policy objectives in MENA (Libya and Syria) — this leads to paving the Silk Road of pipe lines from the Caspian Sea to the Marmara Straight being under the control of Moscow, now, the West is losing Ankara a vital strategic ally in southeast Europe and the Middle East to Moscow.
If the West, (in this stance the U.S.) was genuine about the democratization of the balkan and former Soviet Republic as it was in MENA region, it should not open an unnecessary fight with a strategic ally and fellow NATO member for ideological imperative. It shall admit the fact that Ankara is joining Moscow virtuous cycle with Tehran, furthermore the Brics club (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) because the Turkish leaders and people are determinant to keep their domestic political and economic decisions independency in the wake of the finance crisis that created friction in the two nationsʼ relations.
Even though, the U.S. has angered its natural allies in Europe like Germany and France, for letting Moscow to take Ankara under its arms. Thus the U.S. and its aggressive foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East has straighten Moscow, and made its former satellites worried and take the threat of Moscow seriously. Instead, they find a framework to insure the old protector still has its role in the region. Yet Warsaw signed a military treaty with Washington to install a missile interceptor base in Poland; this is interpreted by Moscow as a symbolic action of Cold War behavior, Russia still sees the former Soviet satellite countries and former Republics as its near frontier. Unlike the U.S. that sees its allies in Europe and MENA as weak business partners with a new diplomatic paradigm: “business diplomacy” based on threat and blackmail in order to silence any vocal ally, even if it goes strategically against it national security and interest.
In sum, the Westʼs decision-makers shouldnʼt treat strategy like a movie script from Hollywood, where the narrative is an assured happy ending, and while the movie is still playing in the box office, the world viewers are already eager for the sequel. The West that should have enough knowledge and cultural understanding toward civilizations, whether Slavic or Middle Eastern, to not try and mold them into a Hollywood story