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There Will Be No American-Russian Alliance Against China

Is the Trump Administration playing odd-man-out, teaming up with one of the two powers against the third.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Since 1991 and the formal end of the first Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the world has experienced an American “unipolar moment” as the bipartisan US policy establishment sought to consolidate and perpetuate its hegemonic control over the entire plant. Doomed to fail even before it received its fullest articulation in 1996 by neoconservative ideologists William Kristol and Robert Kagan (misleadingly billed as “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy”), that misbegotten moment thankfully is coming to an end.

The main question today is whether the grinding to a halt of a quest so foolish and destructive can peacefully devolve into a tripolar entente among the US, Russia, and China – or whether the entrenched Washington establishment will, Sampson-like, crash everything down in a desperate but futile attempt to hang on to its power and privileges. We appear to be approaching the cusp at which that question will be resolved one way or the other. What the Trump Administration does next with respect to Iran will be a key, perhaps decisive, indicator.

However, of late there has emerged an alternative concept that may be seen as a middle way between America’s stubbornly hanging onto our diminishing hegemony versus working out a new Concert of Powers with the two countries the Trump Administration has dubbed rivals in a new “great power competition.” This concept suggests that the United States should play odd-man-out, teaming up with one of the other two powers against the third. Such a triangulation conceivably could perpetuate and enhance America’s global dominance (it is assumed the other nation would be the junior partner) while limiting the influence of the designated adversary.

Strangely, given the unhinged  levels of Russia-hatred that define the American political class, no one seems to have proposed trying to flip Beijing away from its quasi-alliance with Moscow in a repeat of President Nixon’s “playing the China card” against the USSR in the early 1970s. Rather, the hot talk is all the other way ‘round, that the US should woo Russia as an ally against China. As presented by Harry J. Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest (“The Coming American-Russian Alliance Against China”):

‘[T]here is a very real possibility that Washington and Moscow will collude for a very big reason—and soon.

‘Both nations have a reason to fear a coming change in the international order that will impact them both. And as history shows us time and again, a rising power that seeks to overturn the international system can make the most dedicated enemies join forces—and fast.

‘I can only be talking about one thing: a growing and more powerful China. [ … ]

‘While it might not happen right away, and an armed clash over, say, Ukraine or Syria could delay or even destroy any chance of a geopolitical realignment, there is the very real possibility that the stars could align for Russia and America to take on China in the future. Stranger parings have occurred in the past. While we might rightly see Moscow as a rogue nation today, tomorrow it could be a partner in containing a common foe. History and circumstance still stand for no one.’

Playing the Russia card against China is even presented by former Indian diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar as part of a long term strategy (“Trump Has a Grand Strategy, He Wants to Do a ‘Reverse Nixon’ — Partner Russia for an Alliance vs China”) foreseen by the architect of Nixon’s long-ago outreach to communist China, Henry Kissinger (who reportedly is advising Trump to this end):

‘As far back as 1972 in a discussion with Richard Nixon on his upcoming trip to China, signifying the historic opening to Beijing, Kissinger could visualize such a rebalancing becoming necessary in future. He expressed the view that compared with the Soviets (Russians), the Chinese were “just as dangerous. In fact, they’re more dangerous over a historical period.” Kissinger added, “in 20 years your (Nixon’s) successor, if he’s as wise as you, will wind up leaning towards the Russians against the Chinese.”

‘Kissinger argued that the United States, which sought to profit from the enmity between Moscow and Beijing in the Cold War era, would therefore need “to play this balance-of-power game totally unemotionally. Right now, we need the Chinese to correct the Russians and to discipline the Russians.” But in the future, it would be the other way around.’

The possibility that Trump or some people in his Administration may be seriously considering the idea can’t be dismissed. It should be noted that among the few sane voices about Russia in US public life, such as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham (Trump “wants to triangulate China, Russia, does he not?”) and Tucker Carlson, it is axiomatic that “China is the real threat, not Russia.”

However, whether or not the US is open to teaming up with Russia against China doesn’t address the question of whether such a ploy would be objectively viable. There are three strong reasons to suppose it wouldn’t be:

US hostility toward Russia is unalterable for the foreseeable future. In a rational policymaking context, it should be obvious that there is no inherent reason for US-Russia animosity. The basic interests of the two states do not conflict and there is much, other than China, that should be a basis for cooperation, such as the common threat of Islamic terrorism (as opposed to the decades-long US penchant of employing jihadists against Russia and other countries, like Serbia, Libya, and Syria).

Unfortunately, there is little rationality about Russia in Washington. Diehard, uncompromising detestation of Russia, which decent people are not suppose to see as anything but an enemy, is inseparable from the transatlantic conspiracy to eject Trump from office. Indeed, Trump’s pledge to improve relations with Moscow is among the top reasons Trump is being targeted for removal.

Hostility to Russia (and to any Trumpian hopes of détente) unites virtually all the Democrats, almost all prominent Republicans, the entire legacy media (of course), almost every prestigious think tank, and seemingly every high-level official on Trump’s own team. In the wake of his Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump’s innocuous skepticism on supposed election “meddling,” the hysteria of this phalanx of hate has reached new heights of derangement. Senators promise a new “sanctions bill from hell” even as Trump insists existing sanctions are here to stay, presumably forever. The new Senate measure even includes a preposterous requirement that the Secretary of State “submit a determination of whether the Russian Federation meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism” – evidently ignoring the fact that for over seven years the US has armed and funded bona fide al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Syria while Russia has been killing them.

Trump’s own top officials openly press him not only on bogus 2016 meddling but already accusing Moscow of interfering in advance in the 2018 Congressional vote with the intent, without any sense of irony, to “undermine our democracy.” Social media like Facebook are on a search-and-destroy mission against anything even suspected of being “Russian-linked,” whatever that means. A young Russian student advocating gun rights and networking in Washington is treated as a conflation of Anna Chapman and Natasha Fatale while being smeared and slut-shamed across the major media(and her lawyer is threatened with a gag order). Stepped-up military aid is being provided to Kiev. The NATO Pac-Man is set to gobble up next (the Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia, while in the process alienating Russia from longtime Orthodox Christian friend Greece.

No wonder Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov can only look on with sardonic laughter.

In short, anything and everything Russian is toxic and becoming more so. Even if Trump really wanted to change this state of affairs – sure proof the evil Russians must “have something on him,” according to former CIA Director Leon Panetta – he couldn’t do it. Not only his opposition but his own team will see to that. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says Russia “is never going to be our friend.” The Russians have every reason to take her at her word.

This makes any notion of enlisting Russia as an ally against China impractical, to say the least. To even contemplate it the US would have to be able to extend some sort of olive branch to Russia, but that can’t happen anytime soon, if ever. You can’t build a partnership on the basis of unremitting antagonism.

Russia is once burned, twice shy. Even in the event, currently inconceivable, that the US did offer to bury the hatchet with Russia, the Russians would have to be fools to accept.

They are not fools.

Apart from the most minimal, easily verified circumstances, why would anyone in Moscow believe any assurance from anyone in Washington? Did the US honor our commitment to Boris Yeltsin not to move NATO “one inch” further east following Germany reunification? Did the US respect the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 during the Bill Clinton Administration’s 1999 military aggression against Serbia over Kosovo or the George W. Bush Administration’s spearheading of Kosovo’s purported secession in 2008? Does the US show good faith in baseless accusations of Russian guilt in false flag chemical attacks in Syria and the United Kingdom?

While Russian officials by nature remain open to “businesslike” and professional discussion with those they still insist on referring to as “partners,” they also know blind ideological and zoological hatred when they see it.

Even if tomorrow the US would offer the Russians the sun, the moon, and the stars in exchange for cooperation against China, they wouldn’t bite. Nor should they.

Russia has more objective incentives to get along with China than with the US. The main thing Russia needs from the US is basically – well, nothing. That is to say, there is very little of a practical, especially economic, nature Russia needs in a positive sense from the US, and vice versa. What Russia mainly wants from the US is negative: to stop regarding Russia as an enemy and get out of Moscow’s face in regions vitally important to Russia but of little or no value to the US.

Without taking the analogy to George Orwell’s 1984 too far (with America as the primary component of Oceania, Russia of Eurasia, and China of Eastasia), geographically America and Russia not only have no reason for conflict, they have little natural need for interdependence. Russia is the closest approximation of the “Heartland” of Halford Mackinder’s “World Island. The United States is the principal in Mackinder’s “Outlying Islands” (Western Hemisphere and Australia) and “Offshore Islands” (British Isles and the Pacific “First Island Chain”). But, contra the fantasies of some half-baked graduates of an elementary geopolitical “Mackindergarten,” this configuration need not give rise to a predetermined and inevitable conflict but points as easily to the self-sufficiency of each dominant power within its own exclusive sphere.

With a common boarder of over 2,500 miles, Russia and China are locked into a relationship by the simple fact of geography in a way neither is with the United States, which inherently is in the most secure position of the three. The Russo-Chinese relationship can be hostile (as it notably was in the late 1960s, when the two then-communist giants fought a short border war that threatened to escalate into a nuclear conflict and set the stage for Nixon’s China initiative) or it can be cooperative. Fueled in part by an entrenched American animus against Russia and a growing one towards China, Moscow and Beijing have chosen full-spectrum partnership via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the New (formerly BRICS) Development Bank (NDB), and other initiatives. Finally, Russia and China are working in concert to de-dollarize their financial systems in favor of local currency and of gold, which both countries have been buying in massive amounts.

Such ties between Russia and China are as natural, complimentary, and obvious as are America’s with Canada and Mexico. It’s hard to picture Moscow (or Beijing) abandoning them because someone in Washington flashes a come-hither look.

* * *

If Trump survives the efforts to remove him (either politically or physically) – a tall order, given the forces arrayed against him – and doesn’t plunge the US and the Middle East into an Iran misadventure that would destroy his presidency, it is still an open question whether he can deliver on an America First policy. Along with getting control of our borders and restoring America’s industrial base eroded by bad trade policies, that must mean completing his demolition of the failed neoliberal order of which the US has been the guarantor and enforcer.

In its place the only stable and mutually advantageous arrangement for America is a Big Three accord with both Russia and China. The notion of turning one against the other should be dismissed as the distraction it is.

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Jim JatrasParacletustomVeeNarian (Yerevan)AM Hants Recent comment authors
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tom
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tom

Some truly dreadful rubbish being spoken… ‘… an armed clash over, say, Ukraine or Syria could delay or even destroy any chance of a geopolitical realignment…’ As the violence in Ukraine and Syria was deliberately orchestrated by the US government in an attempt to harm Russia, there is obviously no chance whatsoever of any educated and alert Russian seeing the USA as anything but a determined and vicious enemy. ‘…there is the very real possibility that the stars could align for Russia and America to take on China in the future’. No. No, there isn’t. And it has nothing to… Read more »

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Thanks for a very sensible and informed discussion which has become a rarity in these hysterical bed-wetting anti-Russian RACIST times.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

JUST RELEASED: HERE’S WHAT THE FBI IS HIDING ABOUT CHRISTOPHER STEELE
Russian dossier author was improper FBI asset… https://www.infowars.com/just-released-heres-what-the-fbi-is-hiding-about-christopher-steele/

franz kafka
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franz kafka

I wonder how anyone, Jim Jatras included, can live (if he does) in the Schizoido-Psychopathic state which calls itself the USA. I know many Americans are leaving. I think many more would but they probably do not have enough skills to be admitted to most civilized nations. I wonder what stops Russia from a preemptive nuclear strike on the USA? 1. World War 3 has begun. 2. US policy on Nuclear weapons use is an open book (Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as ‘First Strike Rights’ [sic] come to mind). 3. The US openly threatens Russia daily, ‘existentially’, in a… Read more »

Dan Kuhn
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Dan Kuhn

The US wants war with China ; so long as China and Russia are allied that is impossibel. So they need to peel Russia away from China first.I have been saying that in comments for the last couple of years. But Russia would be stupid indeed to dump China because of a few kind words from the Empire, offering the ring to kiss . Looking at the US is the same as looking at a poisonous snake you have in a cage. You just know that someday that snake is going to bite and kill you, so you have no… Read more »

Marc Leif
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Marc Leif

I finally stopped reading about half way through because the idea is so utterly, profoundly ridiculous, it doesn’t bear a nanosecond of thought. Elvis and John Lennon coming back to Earth riding together on a flying, pink unicorn is ten times as likely as Russia aligning with the US against China.

Guy
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Guy

Mr Harry J. Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest , must be a very naive person or he is espousing soft propagandist drivel . The RF is not that stupid or naive .The US has proverbially shit in it’s own bed by demonizing Russia . There is a sickness that has overwhelmed the West ,read the US, and it does not bode well for the country,regardless of the propaganda .The patient is showing signs of terminal illness. Talks and respect between the US and Russia ,yes , good friends ,not so much. I would dare say that the… Read more »

daveycrockett
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daveycrockett

To respond to the title of this piece – Of course there won’t be, the idea is preposterous.

RussG
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RussG

I agree with you, Mr. Jatras. The Russians would never pair themselves with the nation that imposed sanction upon sanction, interfered in many other countries, broke many contracts – written and verbal, attacked its friends, and even killed some of its people. All of this was done with lie upon lie upon lie and the guiding principles of a plain bully. How could Russia make a treaty with the US, where the tentacles of its government are out of control? And why would Russia align with a state in its twilight years, instead of ones with like-minded visions of a… Read more »

Spit
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Spit

Its No Secret that the Brits and Americans Went all out ham to try and get their hands on the SU-57, Remember that time the Indians Gave a tour of a Russian Akula class submarine? Still Trying? ” There Will Be No American-Russian Alliance Against China” Severe Sanctions, increasing defence spending in Israel from 3.3 to 3.8 billion, Upgrading those ICBM’s? aimed at Russia? USA has on the ready in Israel? Is that what the Spending is about? The Chinese remember the 100 years of Shame and the Russians remember how USA funded the revolution. Its A very safe bet… Read more »

Paracletus
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Paracletus

“Rightly see Russia as a rogue partner”? Jatras is smoking some pretty bad weed.

Jim Jatras
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Jim Jatras

I didn’t write that. Kazianis did. Please pay attention to when someone is being quoted and I’m disagreeing with him.

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

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Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

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Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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