Recently, Peter Lavelle wrote an incisive piece on why Vladimir Putin is a classic moderate politician.
At this point it becomes worth clarifying that at The Duran, moderate actually means moderate, as opposed to when the US and its friends talk about Syria, in which case ‘moderate rebel’ means child killing terrorist.
Interestingly, Russia’s political system has evolved to systematically avoid extremists of any variety from gaining public office.
This is due to the fact that official opposition parties are able to offer wide ranging views as alternatives to the ruling party, but do so without challenging the stability of the constitutional order.
Following on from this, groups whose beliefs would threaten the stability of Russia are banned from party politics, much as in Germany Nazism is rightly banned.
Let us however imagine the existence of a new political force in Russia whose domestic policies are more or less akin to that of United Russia, but whose foreign policies are more ‘gung-ho’ than the careful, cautious and moderate Vladimir Putin. If the leader of such a party became the Russian president, what might the world look like?
First of all due to the terrorist attacks and outright war on the people of Donbass, one might imagine a less restrained Russian leader declaring war on the illegitimate government in Kiev.
The war would be won by Russia in less than a fortnight and Russian tanks could well remain on the border with Poland for years to come as a precautionary measure.
The fascist coup leaders in Kiev could well face a Nuremberg style trial for their very real crimes against humanity. Simultaneously, the legitimately elected/illegally ousted Viktor Yanukovych would be brought back to power.
Because of the EU’s hostile policies towards Russia, including sanctions, a leader less far sighted and calm than President Putin might well ban all European products from import into the Russian Federation.
He would also ban all European air traffic from Russian airspace and would seize the assets of European companies in Russia.
Of course there would be short term economic hardship due to this, but a President less inclined to build bridges than Vladimir Putin wouldn’t care and would simply double up trade with China, India and the large South America countries.
If Russia had a less forgiving leader than Vladimir Putin, such a Russian leader would demand that ‘Erdogan must go’ at every world forum and might even try to sabotage the Turkish government, employing the methods by which the destabilises states it doesn’t like.
‘Democracy protesters’ in Ankara would launch violent demonstrations against the government and Sergey Lavrov’s new less placid successor would stand alongside them handing out bottles of Kvass before posing for selfies…like Victoria Nuland of the US state department did in Kiev.
If a would-be more hands-on Russian president were to be at the UN in New York, he would arrange for a private meeting with Donald Trump where the two would conspire to make sure Hillary Clinton doesn’t win the US election, a bit like John Kerry’s meeting with pro-terrorist Syrians in New York saying that he’s sorry he couldn’t do more to help them overthrow the Syrian government but will continue to help them subvert international law to the best of his ability.
This imagined Russian president would then call the US bluff in Syria and list the NATO forces illegally present in the country and declare them enemies of the legitimate government of Syria.
This Russian president might try to go to the UN Security Council to ask for a formal rebuke of the illegal invasion of Syria.
If the US, UK or France vetoed such a resolution, a Russian president less respectful of international law than the justice minded Vladimir Putin might then declare war anyway….as in like circumstances George Bush and Barack Obama have repeatedly done.
Would such a hypothetical Russian president have effectively declared World War III at this point?
It depends on how seriously one takes the statements of Ashton Carter, John Kirby and Samantha Power, as such a hypothetical Russian president wouldn’t be saying anything they have not all said already.
Some say that such a hypothetical leader would be popular in Russia. Possibly in the very short term this could be the case.
However Russian leaders are not elected for their ability to make war. Russia has suffered too much in too many wars for a hawkish leader to attain sustained popularity.
In other words, Russia would never realistically elect someone as war hungry as Hillary Clinton, nor would Russia elect someone who flagrantly disregards international institutions like the UN, of which the USSR was a founding member, and about which children growing up in the Soviet union were educated about far more than those in the West.
So the next time genuine moderates in the West, people who maybe don’t care for Russian culture but want to avoid World War, sit down and analyse the situation, they should be grateful that in President Putin, Russia has a moderate leader.
They should then go to their own politicians and ask why Western countries could not also be more moderate in their approach to world affairs…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.