Biden-Putin, a Yalta II rather than a new Berlin-2
The United States, defeated in Syria, went to Geneva to accept the conditions of the winner, Russia. The summit of June 16, 2021 should put an end to hostilities on the condition that the Biden Administration holds its troops. Western Europeans will have to pay the bill. China is confirmed in its position as Russia’s partner.
The Third World War, which pitted 119 states against each other in Syria, ended with the victory of Syria, Iran and Russia and the military defeat of the 116 Western states and allies. The time has come for the losers to acknowledge their crimes and pay back the damage and costs they have caused (at least 400,000 dead and $400 billion in damage in Syria, $100 billion in Russian armaments).
However, the West has not experienced this war on its own territory and has not suffered from the fighting, which they have mostly carried out through mercenaries (the “jihadists”). They have retained some of their power. The United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, remain at the head of a formidable atomic deterrent force.
From then on, the new world order must not only integrate the world’s leading economic power, China -which remained neutral during the war-, but must also spare the losers, not drive them to despair. This is all the more difficult as Western public opinion is not aware of their military defeat and persists in believing themselves to be the victors.
This is why Russia has chosen to collect war damages without presenting them as such; not to strangle NATO militarily; and not to publicize its decisions. In terms of form, the Russia-US summit is therefore more like a Yalta II (division of the world between allies) than a new Berlin (capitulation of the Third Reich).
It is worth noting that the United States was not held accountable for the destruction of Libya because, at the time, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had supported it.
An opaque summit
Russia did not want to give the impression that it was crushing the West. Even before the meeting, the media had been warned that the heads of state would not hold a joint press conference, as no narrative would be acceptable to both publics at the same time. Not since at least 2014 (when Russia entered the war) has an intergovernmental summit been so poorly covered. When the presidents spoke separately, the security services had to intervene to control the crowd. In the end, things went according to plan: the journalists did not understand much and only had unimportant details to report. The US public believes that Russia tried to manipulate the last two presidential elections in favor of Donald Trump; that it attacked official US websites; that it poisoned some of its opponents; and that it is threatening Ukraine militarily.
Russia has denied all these childish illusions, and then praised the great US president, Joe Biden, for his experience, the quality of his exchanges, and even – without laughing – for the lucidity of this visibly senile man.
Decisions made by Moscow beforehand
On the military level, the important thing was to ensure that the United States would no longer modernize its atomic arsenal and would not be able to design hypersonic launchers.
President Biden announced at the opening of the summit that the United States would reopen arms reduction negotiations, which it had unilaterally halted during World War III. We do not know what steps have been taken to prevent the construction of Western hypersonic missiles, but given Russia’s lead in launchers, Moscow and Washington can drastically reduce their nuclear missile inventories without altering Russian dominance. US disarmament would be in the interests of peace.
President Biden has acknowledged that his country should repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2001, the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine of endless war.
Economically, Russia has demanded to secure its revenues. The United States therefore agreed, on May 19, that the European Union’s industry would no longer run on Western oil, but on Russian gas. Washington announced that it was lifting the sanctions it had imposed on the companies involved in the construction of the North Stream 2 pipeline. It goes without saying that the price of this gas will not correspond to the market value of this product, but to the payment of the war debt. Nevertheless, it will always be possible for Western Europeans to escape this overpricing.
Eventually, Germany and France could be exempted from paying these damages, as former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and former Prime Minister François Fillon have always been opposed to this war. Specifically, the socialist Gerhard Schröder is a director of the Russian state-owned gas company Rosneft, while the Gaullist François Fillon should be appointed director of the Russian state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft. Germany and France would still have to cease hostilities, while the former still has soldiers in Idleb and the latter in Jalabiyeh, and the main actors of this carnage would have to be struck down with indignity, such as Volker Perthes or François Hollande.
On the diplomatic front, Moscow and Washington announced the restoration of their relations and the return of their ambassadors. It remained to define the zones of influence.
First and foremost, President Putin set out lines for the United States not to cross: (1) a ban on Ukraine joining Nato or stationing nuclear launchers there (2) a ban on meddling in Belarus (3) a ban on intervening in Russian domestic politics.
It was agreed that the Middle East would be under joint Russian-US influence, with the exception of Syria, which is directly under Moscow’s wing; that the Sunnis would be divided into two groups in order to prevent the resurgence of the Ottoman Empire; that Syria (and not Iran) would take the leadership of an area including Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Azerbaijan (again to prevent an Ottoman resurgence); and finally, that Israel would abandon Vladimir Jabotinsky’s expansionist project. In any case, Washington had already informed all the states in the broader Middle East on June 2 that it would withdraw its anti-missile systems (Patriot and Thaad).
Moscow anticipates that these agreements will encounter obstacles put in place by some US officials, not directly, but through the use of third-party actors.
As regards the Far East, Russia has firmly rejected proposals for an alliance with the West against China. It considers, in the light of history, that China will not lay claim to Eastern Siberia as long as it keeps the West out of harm’s way. That is why President Putin reaffirmed just before the summit that he did not consider Beijing a threat.
Moreover, from a Russian point of view, China’s economic development could not be more normal. It violates the rules of Western globalization, but is based on a legitimate nationalist doctrine. The final communiqué of the G7, which condemns China and claims to set the standards for world trade, is a delusion of old glories. In any case, Beijing, having preferred to develop economically rather than pay blood money during the war, cannot demand privileges. Moscow is in favour of a “handover” of Taiwan to China, but without resorting to military confrontation.
Moscow intends to join Russia’s political and China’s economic efforts through the Greater Eurasian Partnership, especially for the joint development of Eastern Russian Siberia. That is why it is building the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Magistrale connecting Lake Baikal to the Amur River, the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 transport corridors, the Northern Silk Road, the Europe-Eastern China Expressway, the North-South Highway and the Russia-Mongolia economic corridor. To this connection of the Russian space to the Chinese Silk Roads should be added more than $700 billion of joint projects in both countries.
Regarding the U.S. proposals on cybersecurity, the issue cannot be dealt with bilaterally. Moscow knows better than anyone else that it did not sponsor attacks on the US presidential elections or on the websites of US public agencies.
Computer attacks are carried out by private hackers, sometimes acting as privateers on behalf of states. The NKTsKI – Russian National Center on Computer Incidents (a department of the FSB created three years ago) – estimates that, contrary to what the Western media claim, a quarter of the computer attacks come from the United States.
Russia has obtained the creation by the UN General Assembly, on December 31, 2020 (A/RES/75/240), of an “open-ended working group (OWEG) on digital security and its use (2021-2025)”. This group, and only this group, will be responsible. For Moscow, this is a way to give back to the United Nations the role of a democratic world forum, which it had been deprived of during the Third World War, which had turned it into a transmission channel for Washington’s hawks.