Thursday, August 4, 2016

Should The West Push A New Policy Of Detente With Russia?

Gabriel Elefteriu: Détente 2.0: Playing the long game with a rearmed Russia

We have no long-term strategy to deal with Moscow. Kissinger’s original concept of détente can help.

On 28 April the lower house of the French parliament voted through a (thankfully, non-binding) resolution to lift sanctions on Russia. Not longer ago than March, John Kerry’s visit to Moscow occasioned talk of a possible new “thaw” between the Kremlin and Washington. Even the NATO-Russia council has been revived recent weeks. These are not freak political “accidents” but simply expressions of an obvious reality: the relationship with Moscow is complex and sometimes contradictory, particularly given the growing diversity of NATO’s membership. A varying level of openness for conciliation with Russia, whether driven by political preference or interest and necessity, will always exist within the alliance. While the approaching NATO summit, with its displays of cohesion and robust language on Russia, has now placed a lid over some of these tendencies, we can expect them to resurface sooner or later.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is my must read post for today. The author of this report .... Gabriel Elefteriu .... asked me to review his post ... and I am glad that he did. It brought back memories that I have forgotten, and a reminder on how important detente was in de-escalating West-Soviet tensions at a time when war .... and a nuclear one at that .... was a real possibility. When I started working for the Soviet Foreign Office .... I can say without any hesitation that the policy of detente was working .... and it worked because it benefited both sides. There were rough roads that needed to be passed .... and speaking on behalf of the Soviet side .... the older generation had no confidence or faith that detente would work. But there was nothing to be lost if detente was to be pursued .... and the argument was made that there was much to be gained. What I did not like personally about the policy of detente was that it cemented the status quo .... many of us in the Soviet Union wanted reform .... but detente was used by many in the Soviet establishment to make the argument that because of national security considerations and the current state of international relations .... nothing was going to change. In the end it did change .... and the best part of this story is that this change did not result in a catastrophic war that many of us feared at the time would happen. But there were rough patches during that time .... and no one knew for sure where it was all going to end.

Flash forward to today .... we live in a different world. The Soviet Union is gone, and the Russia of today is a completely different country. But some of the old historical grievances are still with us .... and it is these grievances (in Ukraine and in the Baltics to name a few) that the old Cold War rhetoric and thinking is coming back. Can this trend be stopped .... yes .... but for it to be done successfully the West will have to engage directly with Russian President Putin, and it has to be ready to sacrifice and/or back-track on some policies. Will this happen .... I am personally optimistic that a new policy of detente is workable. I know that Putin's foreign policy priority right now is (1) to get rid of sanctions, and more importantly (2) to avoid another Cold War. Detente is a good platform for this to happen .... but for it to be successful it has to be implemented now .... and it has to be done in a neutral and non-partisan way. Will this happen .... I do not know .... but eventually an understanding between the West and Russia will have to be ironed out .... so why not do it now when emotions are low and everyone is enjoying the summer. And yes .... to also do it with an altitude that this is going to be a long tern project.


Jay Farquharson said...

There won't be a detente.

We are not at the level of propaganda and thought control yet where "Oceanasia has always been at war with Eastasia".

An official 180 will be met by a 35% WTF? Response, a 30% "I knew it was all bs" response, and a 35% Jones/Icke/Faall response "proving" it's all lizard aliens, vaccines and chemtrails.

SA said...

Once again, well said.

For my two cents, I am always, all in for detente!

But, I ask how and why do you meet continuous belligerence with peace, when you have already gone to the belligerent party with an offer of a 'reset'. May I be so bold to say, that was a clear offer of detente also and much more. Firmly rejected and mocked.

The same with China. Both great nations need to help to lead and enhance the international wellbeing. To do less, is to enter the far side, a form of terrorism, holding the world hostage to the possibility of nuclear or conventional world carnage. A place where politics or religion or delusions of empire grandeur, trump, the peaceable goals of the masses worldwide to live in harmony with all people of all nations.

And just maybe, if enough of us dummy's hear, vote for Mr. Trump, I'll soon have the same opinion of this nation. In truth, the jig has been up for along time hear as well. But I holdout hope. The Bill of Rights and Constitution barely hold things together, at least til Jan. 20th, 2017.

RRH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RRH said...

The idea of détente works if there is someone on the other side to talk to. Someone sane. The Russians are instead cofronted with hysterics, over the top storytelling, constant backsliding and aggression born of an ideology hell-bent on world domination.

The utter disbelief and frustration on the faces of Russian diplomats "working" with Washington's emissaries is glaringly evident in media footage/photos. There are no pragmatists coming out of State. Just brainwashed ideologues saying anything to score a win. A recent case in point are the failed ceasefire in Syria and negotiations on "cooperation" between "coalition" forces and Russian/Syrians. These have proven to be nothing more than ploys to cover and buy time for struggling "moderate" proxy headchoppers to rearm, reorganize and redeploy for attack.

Regardless of flummoxed Russian diplomats who are well and truly tired of
insane bullshit, the author, (and the crazies), insists that the U.S. is operating from a position of strength vis a vis Russia and presents the damage that sanctions are doing to her as evidence. It is no secret that the Russian economy is hurting and that more and more Russians are not spending. Commercial property vacancy is up, and values is down

This being the case, it does not mean the U.S. is hugely better off. The country is broke. The national debt grows by hundreds of billions yearly with no end in sight. Poverty, precariousness, urban decay continue to grow despite fantasmic reports of "strong" job creation and "recovery". The population is arguably more divided than at any time since the Civil War, while mass murder appears to be the weekly equivalent of Monday night football. Meanwhile, Americans find themselves embroiled in conflicts that are the foreign policy twin of DRD - the gift that keeps giving - while fanatics in Washington connive more "pivots", colour revolutions, R2P interventions, "full spectrum dominance" schemes, Death Star super weapons, Wahhabi springs, and all manner of devilment contributing to world chaos and national contradictions, decline, bankruptcy and conflict. The crazies know this and, being crazy, believe provoking a war with Russia, even China, is their way out of losing control and systemic collapse. They believe it can all be "managed" with the power of their "brilliant" minds.

In short, this is 2016.

Détente is out.

Bizarro, retardo coco bananas -with cookies- is in.

Anyone who believes, by the way, that all the above will go away by some "big deal" scam by SuperTrump, should go straight away to, click on "donate" and send $500 USD for which you'll receive a 1/2 oz vial of holy tap water specially blessed by your's truly. For an additional fifty bucks I'll throw in a copy of "Salutations from Under a Rock" by Miguel LM with a Forward by Phill. Visa and MasterCard Accepted.

No cheques from the U.S.A.

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B.Poster said...

This is a very interesting article. Unfortunately the author makes at least several key errors. 1.)He overestimates American capabilities while underestimating Russian ones thus he incorrectly a certain level of strength that America has in relation to Russia. In actuality Russia is the stronger power. 2.)He appears to support sanctions trivializing what they are doing to the average Russian. 3.)He appears to link the "west" together as though this is some sort of monolithic entity. In actuality these are all different countries with different cultures and different interests. The idea that they can cooperate on this magnitude for an extended period seems ludicrous. 4.)He incorrectly labels Ukraine as a "friend." At best, this is a group of people we supported without a full understanding of just whom it is we are supporting. At the time, I said inserting ourselves into Ukraine on behalf of those opposed to Russia was the dumbest move ever made by a major power. I'm even more convinced of that today. In short, these people are not worthy of our support. 5.) He laments the non binding resolution in France to end sanctions against Russia. I'm somewhat with him here as I wish America would take the lead in trying to get these sanctions lifted. Eventually the sanctions will be lifted anyway. They aren't sustainable. Some people care more about the wellbeing of their nations than they do trying to punish Russia. Sanctions against a major power like Russia are a no win proposition in the mid to long term and assuming the goal really is to oust Putin or undermine him such sanctions are counterproductive as they drive the population further into his embrace.

While détente as proposed by the author of the article may be a good place to start, in my considered opinion, it does not go far enough. In order for Russia to start talking seriously, sanctions are going to need to be lifted and serious efforts at reforming NATO are going to need to be made. Sanctions are going away anyway as they cannot be sustained and NATO is going away as well as the US is broke and cannot maintain its commitments to it. The only question regarding the dissolution of NATO is the dissolution orderly or disorderly. Once sanctions are over and NATO is gone we really have lost all leverage. Since they are going away anyway we need to get started planning and act accordingly now.

Essentially the starting points should be: 1.)the US does all it can to get sanctions lifted from off of Russia. While the Western Europeans are not going to follow suit, it should help our relations with Russia or at least reduce tensions. 2.)Adopt a position on Ukraine similar to the Russian one or at least a position of neutrality. 3.)Crimea is Russian. Adjust to that reality and make it clear we support Russia on this. 4.) Look for ways we can help Mr. Putin and his inner circle. In other words, try to add value to them.

While there is likely no magic "big deal" Mr. Trump can make that is going to solve this and it likely will take more than his two terms in office to fully solve. At least by his statements and his choice of advisors he appears to indicate a position to get started moving in the proper direction on this. As such, it is understandable if some say he at least deserves the chance to try and fulfill these goals. In contrast, there appears to be little to no hope of the other candidate moving in the proper direction unless they are "overtaken by events" that force these moves in a disorderly fashion that would be horrific for American interests.

Hamilcar Barca said...

Winter is Coming !

War News Updates Editor said...

Good one Hamilcar

Aizino Smith said...

JJ is a frequent caller to Coast to Coast.