In December 2017, Putin proudly stated to Russian servicemen in the western Syrian Hmeimim Air Base, “In just over two years, Russia’s armed forces and the Syrian army have defeated the most battle-hardened group of international terrorists.” It’s three months later, and Putin’s all-too-rosy December 2017 “mission accomplished” has melted in the February 2018 reality that the “mission has just started.” What’s worse is that when it comes to Iran, Putin has realized he created an Islamic Frankenstan that now threatens the very elements that brought Russia into the Syria war to begin with: To control Syria. Putin needs to cut a Grand Deal with Trump immediately, before Russian’s Syria venture explodes in his face.
In the current state of Russian-American meltdown, how can such a Grand Deal be made? There is the Mueller probe, the Ukraine, sanctions, aggressive Russian military moves, NATO expansion. Where to start?
Putin has dug himself into a deep economic and strategic catastrophe.
Putin has dug himself into a deep economic and strategic catastrophe. A recent article related that while an average salary in in Russia is now roughly $670 a month, Russia is paying its unofficial mercenaries in Syria $4,600 a month. The $670 Russian domestic wage in comparison with the $4,600 paid for being in the Syrian death warrant chasm is the ultimate indictment of Putin as a total failure, in domestic as well as international affairs. It is a symptom of the approaching total collapse and implosion of Russia. Putin is paying $4,600 a month to soldiers who will ignominiously and anonymously die in an undeclared international war with no real Russian strategic goal and domestically, Putin’s citizens can’t find a job in Mother-Russia for an eighth of the Syrian salary. This is a symptom of total system failure that Putin ignores at his own peril.
Where to start? Russia must take the first step and cede all of eastern Syria to the United States’ Syrian allies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larov recently attacked the US for recent steps that he claimed “look more and more like a part of a course to create a quasi-state of sorts on a large chunk of Syrian territory. Autonomous, independent from Damascus governing bodies are being created in this territory, money keeps flowing there to keep them functional. Law enforcement, created there, is receiving weaponry.”
Putin must realize that FM Lavrov has been completely wrong on Syria from the start. Putin should do the exact opposite of what FM Lavrov says about Syria. Tell FM Larvov he should welcome the US creating a safe area in Syria. Next, tell Russia military, on the ground, to refuse all operations remotely east of the Euphrates River and south of Damascus. In the air, ignore any Israeli or American planes. Putin has to tell Syria and Iran that he didn’t buy into their Shiite Empire and isn’t going to defend it.
America’s attempting to topologically cut Iran’s military path from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea is in the best interests of both America and Russia.
Is an neo-Safividic Iranian Empire spanning from east Iran through to Lebanon, the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza in the best strategic interests of Russia? Of course not! So, Russia must realize that it has been in the wrong direction on Syria and partner with the United States to bring Syria into a peaceful period without Iran or Hezbollah.
Next, Putin’s got to stop all these ludicrous close-encounters-of-a-Russian kind with American military assets has got to stop ASAP. It seems every week there is another “unprofessional” encounter with a Russian plane somewhere. What’s the point? Does Putin want an American-Russian military mid-air collision?
Third, Putin has got to signal Crimea, East Ukraine with some type of extra-territorial link to Transnistria in Eastern Moldova is Russia’s sole strategic interest, nothing else. Is Russia really going to attempt a Cold War invasion of Europe? No. So, just openly sketch out what exactly Russia seeks to control, and work on a final resolution.
Once, Russia has ceded Syria, and delimited the Ukraine/Transnistria conflict, America can break its sanctions and have a true peace between Russia and America.
In short, after all the smoke Russia has created, Russia has got to show it is not a revanchist 20th century strategic fire, but instead, a 21st Century strategic ally against the waxing and menacing Islamistic threat to Western Civilization. FM Lavrov should start doing his job and protect Russia and Putin instead of acting like a prima donna with no script. If FM Lavrov doesn’t understand what side of Russia’s bread is buttered, Putin should take a line from President Trump, and tell FM Lavrov “You’re fired!.”