Saving Syria: Putin and Erdogan meet behind Trump’s back

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March 11, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

Ruslan Ostashko, LiveJournal – translated by J. Arnoldski –

On March 10th, Turkish President Erdogan visited Moscow at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Western experts and media have been following this trip with great concern and suspicion that the Turkish leader is planning to betray the EU and NATO. Judging by the agenda of negotiations, these fears may very well be justified, but Europeans have only themselves to blame. No one forced them to support a coup against Erdogan while Putin stretched out his hand in a difficult moment.

In these circumstances, even such an immoral and not always reasonable politician like Erdogan can easily come to the conclusion that cooperation with Russia is preferable to working with European or American elites who want to kill him.

If we look at the list of issues to be discussed during the talks with Putin, the impression is created that Turkish officials wrote them specifically to annoy Brussels and Washington. 

It’s enough to bring up the question of acquiring a Russian S-400 which guarantees to freak out NATO’s leadership and greatly anger the American arms lobby. The Americans managed to stop Turkey’s last attempt to diversify its arms suppliers and buy a Chinese air-defense system only with diplomatic threats and a harsh media campaign. But this was all before Erdogan was finally convinced that Washington wants to see him in a coffin in the truest sense of the word. 

The fact that the choice fell to a Russian air-defense complex can be explained by several reasons. First of all, this is a good way to be nice to Vladimir Putin personally. Secondly, Russian air-defense systems are the best on the planet and the price-quality ratio has no competitors. Thirdly, it is quite possible that Erdogan has felt the need to ensure himself in a situation in which his former American or European allies could suddenly decide to bomb him. 

Yes, Turkey is a NATO member, but who knows what will happen tomorrow and when they could organize  the next putsch against Erdogan? If civil war suddenly starts, will the Americans or Europeans want to help the rebels bomb the president’s residence? In order to not repeat the fate of Gaddafi or Hussein, who at their time of need refused air-defense systems, it is worth buying an S-400. The PR effect and the infuriation of European partners in this case is just the icing on the cake for the Turkish leader.

Without a doubt, the main topic of the visit is Syria, and here both Russia and Turkey have a unique chance to resolve the Syrian question behind the US’ back. As long as the Americans are busy with a political civil war and their agencies responsible for foreign policy are practically helpless, a literally wide window of Syrian possibilities is open for Russia and Turkey. 

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Ankara’s interests are predicated on quickly and effectively strangling the Kurds’ military presence in Syria and, in doing so, severely weakening the possibility of successful Kurdish actions in Turkey. Given that some Kurdish groups are actively supported by the US, doing this has been practically impossible, but right now this problem can be resolved at least partially. In addition, Erdogan needs some way to ensure that the positions of the so-called “Turkoman minority”, which is close to many Turks like the DPR and LPR are to Russians, improve in post-war Syria.

For its part, Russia is interested in eradicating the so-called “moderate terrorists” in Syria spawned by CIA and Pentagon sponsors who use the transparent border in Turkey and to whom Turkish authorities are loyal a bit too often. Of course, we really want to provide a stable position for Assad as the recognized leader of post-war Syria.

If we look at Russian and Turkish wishes side by side, then they are quite doable and, if such is desired, can guarantee a compromise beneficial for all. But if we add the US here, which for needs to somehow promote the interests of the so-called moderate opposition, then everything becomes much more complex. Even in these circumstances, it will be possible to make progress, but it won’t be so simple. 

But if the problem is solved “one on one” while the Americans are busy with squabbles between Trumpists and Clintonoids, then everything will be much easier. If everything goes well, then when the Americans come to, there will either be no bargaining chip at all, or they’ll have to bargain from very uncomfortable positions.

In fact, Tel Aviv has long since recognized all of the above, hence why Israeli PM Netanyahu tried to get to Putin before Erdogan in the hope that Israeli interests would be taken into account during the Syrian settlement. In addition, of course, Netanyahu tried to enlist the Russian president’s support in conflict with Iran, but he had little success. In response to Netanyahu’s statement that Iran wants to destroy Israel just like 2,500 years ago, Putin proposed that this Israeli politician not judge Iran according to “5th century B.C.” templates and said “we live in a different world now.”

After these two visits, we can predict that Western media will once again start pushing articles about how Moscow is becoming the center of problem-solving in the Middle East and snatching the championship out of Washington’s hands. According to the Western experts who will whine about Putin once again beating the American establishment, the reason will not be that Putin is not afraid of using force, but that the US was restrained and is not behaving like a superpower. Let them think that. It’s good when the enemy is mistaken.

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The East respects strength, but strength is not enough. Wisdom is also needed. Vladimir Putin, unlike Hillary Clinton, has established himself as a wise and honest politician who always judges fairly. The Russian combination of strength, wisdom, and honesty is rarer and more appreciated than water in an Arabian desert. Russia’s strength is in truth, backed up by Caliber missiles. The US has nothing on this competitive advantage. 

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