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Russian-Moldovan Relations Might Become Much More Difficult To Manage

Russian-Moldovan Relations Might Become Much More Difficult To Manage

23 NOVEMBER 2020

Russian-Moldovan Relations Might Become Much More Difficult To Manage

Pro-Western Maia Sandu’s victory in the second round of the Moldovan presidential elections last week might make bilateral relations with Russia much more difficult to manage than they were under her Russian-friendly predecessor, with the worst-case scenario being a new East-West crisis in the event that Moldova attempts to (re)unify with Romania and/or militarily resolve the frozen Transnistrian Conflict while the “best-case” one might realistically be a “managed decoupling” between the two with time.

Pro-Western Maia Sandu’s victory in the second round of the Moldovan presidential elections last week inspires optimism among her domestic supporters and their foreign patrons while raising worries in Russia that bilateral ties might soon become much more difficult to manage. Her Russian-friendly predecessor worked very hard to cultivate excellent ties with his country’s historical partner despite intense resistance from hostile elements of his permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”), but that renaissance in relations might now be over. It’s very difficult to imagine Sandu standing against those same “deep state” forces that she’s presumably a part of. In fact, she might even seek to impose their dual vision of (re)unifying with Romania and militarily resolving the frozen Transnistrian Conflict, which could spark a new East-West crisis in the worst-case scenario. The “best-case” one might then realistically be that a “managed decoupling” occurs between the two with time, but that would of course be less preferred than simply retaining their strategic ties.

For those who aren’t too familiar with the geopolitical dynamics, it’s important to point out that Moldova is a territory historically claimed by Romania but which had been under Russian Imperial and Soviet control for around one and a half centuries from 1812-1991 except for the interwar period when it was controlled by Bucharest. The tiny sliver of land east of the Dniester River (“Transnistria” literally meaning “beyond the Dniester”) remained under Russian control between the two World Wars but sought to secede from Moldova during the late Soviet period in response to Romanian nationalists coming to power in Chisinau, which frightened the region’s many Slavic people who feared for their rights and identity. The brief war that soon followed has yet to officially conclude but saw the introduction of Russian peacekeepers and subsequent bestowing of citizenship upon some of that area’s people. It presently hosts a Russian base but is completely surrounded by Moldova and Ukraine, which greatly complicates any potential military scenario.

To explain, Moldovans are divided over whether or not to (re)unify with Romania, but since Transnistria is universally recognized as their united country’s sovereign territory, its political future is uncertain in the event that that happens. One possibility for politically resolving this frozen conflict is to asymmetrically federalize the country, but opponents of this outcome argue that it would forever weaken the state. Supporters, meanwhile, insist that this is the only way to avoid more bloodshed and ensure that the locals’ human and cultural rights are protected. The presence of the Russian military base has hitherto served as a deterrent to any reckless NATO-provoked military adventure by Chisinau, but Sandu might gamble just like Saakashvili did before her that the time might soon be coming to strike. Unlike Georgia’s previously unrecognized breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Transnistria isn’t adjacent to Russia and therefore couldn’t be as easily supported as they were if she were to launch a similar midnight attack against its peacekeepers there.

The Russian military is more than capable of holding its own in the opening stages of any possible conflict, but it would certainly need support sooner than later, especially in the event that Ukraine were to join in any potential NATO-provoked Moldovan military operation there. That’s why observers have been warning about the worst-case scenario of a larger war in Transnistria for a while already ever since the 2013-2014 Ukrainian Crisis because the geo-military variables aren’t in Russia’s long-term favor. Moscow would have to pass through Ukrainian airspace to save its soldiers in that scenario, which would probably be closed to them for obvious reasons. Realistically speaking, the odds are against Russia unless it ups the ante by escalating the situation according to what the US — especially under a possible Biden presidency — might likely expect it to do. This means that Sandu’s election might be very dangerous in hindsight if she submits to the neoconservatives’ plans.

The reader must keep in mind that the author is only forecasting a series of scenarios and isn’t making any clear-cut predictions. It might end up being the case that Russian-Moldovan relations remain stable and that there isn’t any effort to (re)unify with Moldova and/or militarily resolve the Transnistrian Conflict. That’s certainly possible, however increasingly unlikely it might become, especially under a Biden presidency which restores the neoconservatives’ influence in Washington. For that reason, the “best-case” scenario should also be discussed whereby a “managed decoupling” is initiated between Russia and Moldova, no matter how economically disastrous this would be for the Moldovan people who depend on the Russian consumer and labor markets. At the very least, it would be preferable to the larger war that might be unleashed in the worst-case scenario even though Moscow would of course wish to retain strategic relations with Chisinau.

So as not to be misunderstood, the author isn’t promoting so-called “defeatism”, but just feels obligated to realistically assess all possible options in the event that indicators suggest that the worst-case scenario is becoming a reality. Russia undoubtedly has contingency plans in place for how to respond to that series of events, but it might nevertheless catch some observers unaware who hadn’t foreseen any of this happening. That’s why the purpose of this analysis is to inform, not advise, for the sake of educating everyone about what might come next. Sandu’s victory could very well be a dark omen for East-West relations, but it might also not be a big deal at all if she realizes that her country’s interests objectively rest in retaining pragmatic relations with Russia and politically resolving the Transnistrian Conflict. Only time will tell which path she chooses to take and a lot will definitely depend on the outcome of the as-yet-undecided US presidential election.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Moldova, NATO, Romania, Transnistria.


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Global Terrorism

South Asia

SOUTH ASIA

  • AFGHANISTAN: Trump to Order Further Drawdown of Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. NATO warns against the pullout, saying “Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq.” Al Qaeda will now be given time and space to regroup in Afghanistan for the next attack.

SOURCES: POLITICO PJ MEDIA

 

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Expert Analysis

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

9 NOVEMBER 2020

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

In the event that Biden’s “projected” presidency become a reality, Russia and Turkey would stand to lose the most during America’s new era of engagement with the world due to the former Vice President’s intense dislike of the Eurasian Great Power and the regional consequences that his possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy.

Multilateralism Doesn’t Mean That Everyone Wins

Analysts are scrambling to predict what American foreign policy might look like under a possible Biden presidency in the event that his “projected” (but crucially, not yet legally certified) victory becomes a reality. It’s already known that he intends to return to the Obama-era strategy of multilateral engagement and will probably appoint many officials from that former administration or at the very least those who’ve been tremendously influenced by them. There’s also little doubt that the US’ de-facto military alliance with India will remain intact considering the bipartisan consensus regarding its grannd strategic importance. Nevertheless, although it’s still a bit early to make any confident predictions, it can be argued that Russia and Turkey will probably stand to lose the most from a Biden presidency for reasons that will now be explained.

Political Russophobes Return To The White House

Regarding the Eurasian Great Power, it has legitimate concerns about the political Russophobia of former Obama-era officials. The (soon-to-be-former?) opposition spent the past four years concocting one of the craziest conspiracy theories in modern history by imagining that Trump was secretly an agent — or at the very least, an asset — of none other than President Putin himself. These dangerous allegations have since been officially debunked, but their destructive impact on bilateral relations will persist for the indefinite future. The anti-Russian members of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) which literally conspired with their Democrat and Mainstream Media proxies to delegitimize and subsequently subvert Trump’s presidency have no interest in a rapprochement with Russia.

A Strategically Convenient “New Detente” With China?

To the contrary, they’ve signaled every interest in clinching a “New Detente” with China instead through a series of pragmatic compromises on a slew of issues such as trade, military, and technological ones for instance. This isn’t just for pragmatic reasons, but clever geostrategic ones related to freeing up the US’ full potential to more assertively “contain” Russia for the ideological reasons that drive Obama-era officials and those influenced by them. Should this scenario come to pass, then Russia would come under unprecedented pressure along its western flank, building upon the military advances along its borders that were overseen by Trump but aggressively solidifying and possibly even expanding them. Being in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on resource revenue, Russia is presently real vulnerable.

Russia’s Most Vulnerable Moment

The next year or two is therefore the best possible time for the US to put maximum pressure upon it for the purpose of compelling it to agree to a lopsided “New Detente” which could foreseeably result in a so-called “new normal” of relations between the West and Russia. The intent, however, is to subjugate Russia to America’s military will, which is understandably more difficult to pull off than the political Russophobes might imagine considering Moscow’s recent advances in hypersonic missile technology which restored the nuclear balance between the former superpowers. Still, all that Russia has done was buy itself some more time while it sought to domestically restructure all aspects of its society while the US was distracted with “containing” China under Trump, but now the pendulum might swing back against Russia with a vengeance under Biden.

Strengthening The Regional Anti-Turkish “Containment” Coalition

On the topic of Turkey, it’s also expected that this country will stand to lose from a possible Biden presidency. The US’ strategy of assembling a regional anti-Turkish “containment” coalition between itself, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, the GCC, Greece, “Israel”, and even Syria to an extent will likely remain in place, as will its use of more subversive measures such as economic warfare and even coup plotting in order to “finish the job” that Obama failed to do during the summer 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. Just as importantly, however, are the regional consequences that the US’ possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy since they could result in it and Tehran drifting apart after their recent rapprochement.

The Turkish-Iranian Strategic Partnership

About that, these neighboring Islamic civilizations are presently enjoying some of their best-ever relations after the failed summer 2016 coup attempt saw Iran become the first country to publicly support Turkey’s legitimate government against the plotters. This wasn’t only for pragmatic reasons regarding the rule of law and international norms, but also ideological ones as well since Turkish society has been gradually Islamifying under President Erdogan’s rule in ways which align with Iran’s ideal vision for the region’s societies. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran saw the Islamic Republic move much closer to Turkey for the purpose of much-needed sanctions relief, which in turn resulted in them agreeing on Azerbaijan and Libya despite Iran’s Syrian ally having a different position towards those two conflicts to the surprise of the Alt-Media Community.

Decoupling Turkey & Iran’s Mutual Strategic Interdependence

As Iran began to rely more on Turkey, so too did Turkey began to rely on Iran, thus establishing a relationship of mutual strategic interdependence. Where Iran sees Turkey as a pressure valve from sanctions, Turkey regards Iran as an indispensably influential regional partner which helps hold back the emerging US-led anti-Turkish “containment” coalition. Nevertheless, if a breakthrough is reached on the US returning to the Iranian nuclear deal, then there’s a credible chance that their mutual strategic interdependence might eventually weaken and the two countries could gradually “decouple” with time. That would place Turkey in a very disadvantageous regional position, but one which could interestingly improve its already solid relations with Russia so long as both have the political will to do so.

Could The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership Transform Into An Unofficial Alliance?

The analysis has thus far argued that Russia and Turkey will lose the most from a Biden presidency, but the proverbial silver lining is that they’d have more of a reason than ever to strengthen their cooperation with one another in response. In fact, should similar pressure be placed upon them in a semi-coordinated manner, they might naturally move a lot closer together. Issues of occasional discord such as differences of vision over certain conflicts might remain, but they wouldn’t be insurmountable and in fact might be more easily resolved in the event that they enter into a stronger relationship of mutual strategic interdependence which might even eventually become an unofficial alliance. The exact contours of such a scenario are difficult to forecast at this point, but the possibility itself shouldn’t be discounted for the earlier mentioned reasons.

Concluding Thoughts

While many across the world are celebrating what they’ve been (mis?)led to believe is Trump’s impending ouster from the White House, it’s all but certain that Russia and Turkey are fretting over what might come next if Biden is able to execute on his regional vision of repairing relations with China, doubling down on the US’ anti-Russian and -Turkish pressure campaigns, and returning to the Iranian nuclear deal. Taken together, these variables could prove extremely troublesome for their grand strategies, but might also present an opportunity for these two Great Powers to work more closely together in the future. Having said all of that, nothing’s set in stone of course and a Biden presidency might end up surprising a lot of observers just like the Trump one did in some respects, but it’ll still likely be difficult for either Russia or Turkey to secure their interests during this time.

Tags: Biden, US, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, JCPOA, New Detente, NATO, Sanctions, Regime Change, Color Revolution, Hybrid War, Containment.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b 

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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Global Geopolitics

Asia Pacific

ASIA PACIFIC

  • The United States and European officials are mulling to create an ‘Asian NATO’ of regional powers to contain communist China’s expansionist ambitions. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said China’s emergence as a rising superpower is “fundamentally shifting the global balance of power” in ways should motivate NATO itself to “become more global.”

SOURCE: BUSINESS WORLD

 

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Expert Analysis

Debunking The Top Five Fake News Narratives About Nagorno-Karabakh

Debunking The Top Five Fake News Narratives About Nagorno-Karabakh
 
28 SEPTEMBER 2020

Debunking The Top Five Fake News Narratives About Nagorno-Karabakh

This weekend’s resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh has led to an explosion of fake news narratives about the conflict, hence the reason for writing this piece in order to debunk the top five ones that have since proliferated across the Alt-Media Community.

Nagorno-Karabakh is back in the news after this weekend’s resumption of hostilities. The author wrote about the latest clashes in his piece about how “Azerbaijan’s Counteroffensive Is Legal But Might Inadvertently Spiral Out Of Control”, which also cites three recent analyses from over the summer that were published after the clashes during that time. All four articles are important to read in order to obtain a deeper understanding of this complex conflict’s background and contemporary context. The present piece, however, focuses solely on debunking the top five fake news narratives that have proliferated across the Alt-Media Community about this issue. Each one begins with a paraphrased summary of the false claim in question, which is then concisely debunked. Without further ado, here are the five most popular fake news claims about this conflict:

1. “Nagorno-Karabakh Is Armenian”

Most of the inhabitants of Azerbaijan’s former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast are ethnic Armenians who aspired to separate from their country in order to join their nearby titular nation in the last days of the Old Cold War. The resultant conflict that this sparked led to the region’s occupation by the Armenian Armed Forces as well as the occupation of some of the surrounding environs that were never originally part of the former autonomous oblast in question. To this day, not a single country in the world — Armenia included — officially recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as “independent”, though Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan hinted on Sunday that he might consider doing so. Nevertheless, as it presently stands at the time of writing, there is unanimous acknowledgement in the international community of the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan despite being mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians.

2. “Azerbaijan Started An Illegal War Of Aggression Against Armenia”

Four UNSC Resolutions (822853874884) have been passed demanding that Armenia withdraw its military forces from Azerbaijan, which it refuses to do to this day. Armenia is therefore the internationally recognized aggressor state in this conflict which continues to occupy its neighbor’s territory. Azerbaijan has the UN-enshrined legal right to defend itself and remove foreign military forces from its land. Although Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse one another of provoking the latest round of violence, it’s irrelevant who actually fired the first shot this time since there’s no question that Armenia is the occupying force on internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory. The truth is that Armenia is the one that started an illegal war of aggression against Azerbaijan decades ago, though its proponents portray it as a “humanitarian intervention”. Although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the indisputable fact is that the UNSC doesn’t agree with Armenia’s version.

3. “Russia Will Defend The Armenian Forces In Nagorno-Karabakh”

Russia and Armenia are mutual defense allies through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but Moscow doesn’t recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as anything other than Azerbaijani territory. Its security guarantees are therefore limited only to protecting internationally recognized Armenian territory from foreign aggression, not intervening in Nagorno-Karabakh. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Russia is also a member of the same UNSC which voted four separate times to demand Armenia’s withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory. The CSTO is therefore only relevant insofar as serving as a deterrent to Turkish military intervention against Armenia in Azerbaijan’s support or the scenario of Azerbaijan attacking internationally recognized Armenian territory as part of its counteroffensive. Even then, however, Ankara and Baku can argue that they were taking preemptive action to stop Armenian aggression against their own territories, thus creating a legal dilemma for Moscow.

4. “Turkey Provoked The Latest Hostilities As Part Of Its Neo-Ottoman Strategy”

There’s no doubt that Turkey has become much more regionally assertive over the past decade through what many have described as its “Neo-Ottoman strategy”, but the country is already caught up in such a wide range of conflicts at the moment (Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Greece, Libya) that it doesn’t have any interest in getting involved in another one. This is even more so the case when considering that Armenia is Russia’s CSTO ally and that the worst-case scenario involves an Armenian-Azerbaijani war becoming a CSTO-NATO proxy war or even a direct one. Turkey is also close strategic partners with Russia nowadays despite occasional differences of approach to some regional issues such as Syria and Libya. They cooperate real closely on military-technical issues such as the S-400s and energy ones like Turkish Stream. Jeopardizing this relationship and risking the worst-case scenario of a CSTO-NATO war just for the sake of regaining imperial-era glory is irrational.

5. “Azerbaijan Is An Israeli Ally So All Anti-Zionists Should Support Armenia”

Azerbaijan sells energy to “Israel” and also purchases military equipment from it, but Armenia is also on pretty good terms with the self-professed “Jewish State”. In fact, it can be argued (though importantly without endorsing it) that Azerbaijan has a more balanced relationship with “Israel” than Armenia does. After all, Armenia recently opened an embassy there despite previously promising not to ever do so unless “Israel” recognized the events that Armenia and a few dozen other countries across the world including Russia regard as the “Armenian Genocide”. Yerevan reversed its own prior policy in this respect even though it didn’t receive anything tangible in return, thus making Tel Aviv the indisputably dominant partner in that relationship. Armenia submitted to “Israel” so as to pave the way for their influential lobbyists partnering with one another as they assemble a united anti-Turkish front, but it comes off as desperate and definitely isn’t “anti-Zionist”.

——————–

Taking into account the author’s debunking of the top five fake news narratives about Nagorno-Karabakh, it’s clear that an intense infowar is being waged by Armenia’s supporters to denigrate Azerbaijan in the eyes of the Alt-Media Community. Although mostly ethnically Armenian, the region in question is legally Azerbaijani, and the UNSC has called on Armenia to withdraw from this territory and the occupied surrounding regions on four occasions. Russia doesn’t support the armed Armenian separatists there, and Turkey isn’t meddling in this matter either. Both want peace, not war. As for who anti-Zionists should support, neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia meet that ideological criteria as both are partnered with “Israel” to differing extents. In conclusion, everyone is entitled to their own views on this matter, but no one should spread false narratives about it.

EgjymzKXcAEZe3b 

American political analyst
 

Tags: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey, CSTO, NATO, Israel, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Caucasus.


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Global Anti-Goverment Protests

Belarus

BELARUS:

  • BELARUS: Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, said he would be ready to hold new elections and hand over power, an attempt to pacify mass protests and strikes that pose the biggest challenge yet to his rule. Russia is watching closely as Belarus hosts pipelines that carry Russian energy exports to the West and viewed by Moscow as a buffer zone against NATO. U.S. and the EU want Russia not to meddle, after Moscow told Lukashenko it was ready to provide military help against an external threat.

SOURCE: MERCOPRESS

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Global Geopolitics

EUROPE

EUROPE:

  • The United States would move its military headquarters out of Germany to Belgium, as part of the US plan to cut the number of US troops in Germany to 25,000. Some of the military personnel in Germany will be moved to other NATO countries. The key aim of the rotation is to reinforce NATO’s southeastern flank near the Black Sea, sending a message to Russia.

SOURCES: GEOPOLITICS NEWS  https://geopolitics.news/europe/us-to-withdraw-11900-troops-from-germany-about-half-to-be-redeployed-in-europe/ 

 

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Global Geopolitics

Global Geopolitic Newsletter

EURASIA:

  • President Vladimir Putin has ordered snap military drills involving 150,000 personnel and hundreds of aircraft and naval vessels to ensure “security in Russia‘s southwest”, according to the defence ministry. As an answer, neighbouring Ukraine said it would also conduct military exercises, as an insurance against any resulting escalation on its eastern borders.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/putin-orders-huge-snap-military-drills-russia-southwest-200717084549569.html


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