Staunton, September 24 The apparent agreement of US President Barack Obama to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week in New York to discuss Syrian affairs represents a new Munich in which one side focuses on “peace in our time” and the other pockets recognition of his aggression while planning for more, Andrey Illarionov says.
In a blog post September 24, following stories about American-Russian military to military talks Putin, the Russian commentator argues that what the world is seeing is “Munich-ization on the march” with eight disastrous consequences for Ukraine and the West more generally.
1. “The cooperation of Russia with the US on ‘the Syrian question’ in fact breaks the incomplete foreign policy isolation of Russia and removes from [Putin] the status of ‘outcast.’”
2. “All of Russia’s acquisitions in Ukraine are strengthened. Western leaders are entirely occupied with discussions about the need for talks with Assad.” They aren’t interested in talking about Ukraine.”
3. “With the valuable new ally, the lifting or at a minimum softening of all sanctions is guaranteed either by the end of this year or at the beginning of next. An ally then, is that clear?”
4. “A new level of mobilization and discipline of Russian elites has been achieved. If someone in [Putin’s] entourage had been thinking that it was necessary to do something different, then to all it is perfectly clear that ‘papa has again done everything.’ Political elites, on the division of which certain hopes had been placed will again rally around the ‘alpha dog.’”
5. “The Kremlin will completely openly and legally introduce its forces into the Middle East.” Not just advisors but “real Russian forces” and apparently “now with the complete agreement and cover of the US.”
6. “The justification of Russian intervention … will not be handled not by Shoigu, Lavrov or even Peskov but by US Secretary of State Kerry: ‘In Syria, Russian soldiers are for the defense of Russian soldiers.’” The world will be struck dumb from laughter.
7. “With the support of Russia, the Shiite block of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will become the most powerful force. A full-blown war will break out against the Sunnis. A major war in the Middle East will become inevitable.”
8. “And what will be the price of oil under conditions of a major war in the Middle East?”
In short, Putin will gain his goals, Ukraine will be sacrificed in the name of something supposedly larger, and, just like at the time of the original Munich, those who think they have secured “peace in our time” by such an exchange will discover, as Churchill put it, that they have chosen “dishonor over war” but will get war nonetheless.