Staunton, July 19 – The trade-off US President Barack Obama made with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to get a deal on Iran “is acquiring new and, in our time, somewhat unexpected aspects,” Andrey Illarionov says, colors that unfortunately suggest “Russia, the US, Iran and the EU are together, together without Ukraine,” even “together against Ukraine.”
On Kasparov.ru July 19, the Russian commentator says that Putin has now responded to Obama’s praise of Russia’s role in the Iranian talks with a dramatic shift in his rhetoric about the US and about Moscow’s ability to cooperate with Washington on a wide variety of issues.
Not long ago, Illarionov says, Putin was routinely saying that Russia could not tolerate the US as the single superpower. The US, in his version of reality, “considers itself to be the only center of force in the world, it doesn’t need allies; it needs only vassals. Russia in such a system of relations cannot exist.”
And just two weeks ago, Putin told the Russian Security Council that Moscow must prepare to survive under conditions of “the unfriendly course by some of our geopolitical opponents,” the EU and the US.
Immediately after the deal on Iran, however, Putin changed his tone: On July 14, he spoke about “the constructive cooperation” of the US and Russia in the framework of the six and “stressed” the role of “Russian-American dialogue in providing security and stability in the world.”
And then on July 16, one day after Ukraine carried out part of the Minsk-2 accords at Moscow’s and Washington’s assistance, Putin and the entire rest of the Russian Security Council “stressed the leading role and constructive position of the US.” Putin even talked then about how the final Iranian accord became possible because “of the leading role” of the United States.
Some may see this as the opening of a new page in Russian-American relations. That is certainly what Putin wants, and he undoubtedly hopes that he has found a way out of the corner into which he had driven himself by invading Ukraine. The Russian president is certain to hope he will find a new understanding of his position in Washington.
That may happen, but if it does, some countries are going to suffer collateral damage and among them in the first instance will be Ukraine, Illarionov suggests. He points to a new Facebook post by Sergey Markov, a former KGB officer who is close to the Putin regime, as indicative of the likelihood of that.
In that post, Markov says: “As was expected, Putin and Obama positively spoke to each other. They greeted one another over the Iranian accord…now a possibility for compromise has appeared. It is important that the US end its policy of isolating and demonizing Putin,” he continued.
“I hope,” Markov writes, “that Obama will continue the policy of revising his own mistakes and return Russian-American relations from hybrid war to peace.” And he stressed what he viewed as the importance of the fact that in their recent exchanges, the two leaders did not talk about Ukraine.”
That will now be put in the past, Markov says. “Now it is necessary to act together against ISIS. Russia, the US, Iran, and the EU together.”
“As far as the main thing is concerned, at the present moment, Markov alas is right,” Illarionov concludes extending his earlier analysis about the deal between Obama and Putin on Iran. “Russia, the US, Iran and the EU together. Together without Ukraine. Together against Ukraine.”