Vladimir Putin’s completed Middle East tour of Syria, Egypt and Turkey has caught the attention of the international community. Western media outlets have described it as his personal triumph.
With that visit, Putin definitely showed that Russia is back in the Middle East, a region from which it was driven out after the American intervention in Iraq.
Syria has not become another Afghanistan, as opponents to the Syrian regime had intended. And if that lost war was one of the factors in Russia’s decline, winning a war in Syria alternatively makes Russia’s worldwide comeback official.
Thus the czar’s close alliance with Egypt and Turkey appears to be a diplomatic masterpiece. He gained two precious regional partners by seizing them from the West, which they no longer trusted.
The fact that Cairo has become a lead actor in the Israeli-Palestinian controversy (the Palestinians have reconciled their different political and religious groups with Egypt) makes the alliance with Egypt even more strategic.
But Putin has also shown his diplomatic talent by carving out a super side role that allows him to be involved with all Middle Eastern actors, including the enemies of his allies.
The Russian president’s success, for many analysts, stems from the United States’ alleged withdrawal from the Middle East.
It’s not a new theory: It was an obsession of Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, as she proposed a more assertive American re-engagement in the Middle East.
In reality, the United States never withdrew from the Middle East, but has simply changed its strategy: no more direct actions, but indirect actions.
Thus the Syrian regime change, planned by Washington (and others), was entrusted to the jihadi rabble with financial support from the Saudis. And in Libya, too, where the regime change was, conversely, successful.
But then there is terrorism. Both the Islamic State and al-Qaida have benefitted indirectly from the same recruiting and finance networks of jihadi movements. One only needs to see how, as in the attacks in Europe, radical members known to intelligence agencies are regularly involved.
It’s a contiguity tolerated in the West, or at least it is not truly opposed. Because fundamentally, these terrorist movements, although they bring fear to the West, are in conflict with the United States’ enemies in the Arab world: the Iraqi Shiites who act with Tehran, Hezbollah, the Syrian government, Colonel Gadhafi, etc.
It’s not just the wars. Even the Arab Springs, continuously entrusted to Islamist movements, should have given the United States a new Arab and Middle Eastern world. That is why the U.S. openly supported them.
This strategy arose from the neoconservative doctrine of “creative chaos.” It’s a strategy that has spread instability throughout the Arab world and elsewhere.
So to say that America has withdrawn from the Middle East is not just shortsighted, but it is also a fabrication of history. It sure has been in recent years!
The problem is that U.S. strategy has proven to be a failure. With spreading instability, those who have felt threatened have found an interested spokesman in Putin. First of all, he has had to prevent the spread of instability (and terrorism) in Russia, which, for that matter, is a real possibility.
That said, it is too early to talk about Putin’s triumph. Of course, he has won the war. This is the reason for Putin's decision to withdraw part of the Russian contingent that was sent to Syria.
It would be better to write about the victory of a phase of the global war that has been tormenting the world for 15 years (of neoconservative rule). However, the Russian president still has to win peace, which is yet an arduous prospect, given the new chaos in the Middle East following Trump's sudden announcement about Jerusalem and the pressure to unleash a massive war in the region, with the ultimate goal of limiting Iranian influence and/or overthrowing Tehran.
It is worth concluding with a note from Emanuele Severino in which, as reported awhile back on our site (see Piccolenote (SEE HERE)), he explains how the Cold War did not see two opposing empires, but a single empire that by reasoning of the blocs, dominated the world.
It’s an explanation that corresponds with that of Augusto Del Noce, who saw the U.S. and the USSR as a two-headed monster with a single body and two heads condemned to insult each other but unable to deliver a fatal blow without killing itself.
The end of that empire should have coincided with the assimilation of the East and the West, which is what was happening with Boris Yeltsin's Russia.
Putin has raised the fate of this empire again and is presenting himself to the subjects of the Western empire as someone who brings stability and security; like a new Constantine restoring order after years of war and instability.
So far, the Western empire sees it as a threat. But Donald Trump, who has sought a strategic partnership with Moscow, is likely right.
He, or someone working for him, sensed that the Russian president could also be a resource for the work of lifting that part of the world out of the doldrums it was driven into by the neocons’ insane warmongering and the predatory victory of money over politics.
Precisely because such calamities in Russia have been avoided thanks to Putin, he has instead won his battle over the oligarchs and successfully countered the assertiveness of the neoconservatives.