NATO leaders are gathering in Brussels to hold their first in-person summit since 2018, with Russia and China high on the agenda, according to the alliance’s top official. The summit will be a great opportunity for NATO leaders to exchange views on these issues ahead of a meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva slated for Wednesday.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin stated that if Ukraine enters NATO, the arrival time of the alliance’s missiles to Moscow will shorten up to 7-10 minutes. He noted that the interests of Russia are not considered since the decision on the extension was made despite the earlier reached agreements.
In an attempt to strengthen ties with his closest ally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will meet his Russian counterpart. The summit will be a critical show of support by Moscow for Mr Lukashenko’s regime a day after the UN civil aviation agency announced it would investigate Sunday’s interception of the Ryanair airplane by a MiG-29 fighter jet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on ratifying a treaty between Russia and Kazakhstan on military cooperation. It will cover a broad range of issues, including, the delivery of armaments and hardware, participation in joint bilateral and multilateral drills and troop combat training.
Russia will continue to help to form an economically independent Afghanistan free of terrorism and narcotics-related crimes, President Vladimir Putin said. He affirmed that a peaceful development in Afghanistan means the key for security and stability in the Central and South Asia.
Turkish President Erdogan’s disclosure that he proposed dispatching a peacekeeping force to Palestine during this week’s talks with his Russian counterpart has been misconstrued by many in the Alt-Media Community as implying an impending mission to the Holy Land, but that’s nothing more than fake news since the topic was only brought up for soft power purposes and no such joint operation is seriously being planned.
The Alt-Media Community (AMC) can be a very valuable place for learning about facts and interpretations thereof that are largely suppressed by the Mainstream Media for “politically correct” reasons, but it can also be a cesspit of fake news as well if one lacks the media literacy to identify the various information products that they come across online. Among the latest false narratives to be propagated across the community is the claim that Russia and Turkey are ready to deploy a peacekeeping force to Palestine. This counterfactual claim is based upon Turkish President Erdogan’s disclosure that he proposed a peacekeeping mission to his Russian counterpart during this week’s talks, though that part of their conversation curiously wasn’t mentioned in the official Kremlin website’s report of their call. No one should doubt that it was probably touched upon to some extent, but it evidently wasn’t serious enough of a topic for the Kremlin to inform the world about.
At this point, it’s necessary for readers to take a step back and assess the strategic dynamics of the latest “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict as objectively as they possibly can. Regardless of whichever side one supports, everyone should acknowledge that there’s an intense information war being waged by each warring party and their sympathizers. Plenty of fake news is being propagated in order to manufacture false impressions of the situation and its future course. In the context of this analysis, one such example is the AMC’s misconstruing of President Erdogan’s conversation with President Putin and subsequent misreporting that the two are seriously considering an impending peacekeeping mission to the Holy Land. This dramatic claim ignores Russia’s perfectly balanced approach to the conflict whereby Moscow has refused to take either party’s side and it also distracts from Turkey’s “politically inconvenient” relationship with “Israel”.
About the first point, many in the AMC wishfully think that Russia and especially its leader are secretly against “Israel”. This is partly due to years of indoctrination after they’ve read countless fake news reports about this topic in the AMC from individuals and outlets that are motivated by ego, ideology, and/or profit (i.e. boosting ad revenue through clickbait and/or soliciting more donations from naive but well-intended members of their audience for reaffirming their false expectations). The second point operates very similarly nowadays as well. Just like there are those who imagine that Russia is anti-Zionist, so too are there many who imagine the same about Turkey despite Ankara’s continued political and economic ties with “Israel”. For various reasons, it’s fashionable to pretend that both of them are against “Israel”, particularly Turkey due to some recent highly publicized disagreements between the two, but both narratives are debunked by the facts.
Nevertheless, quite a few Facebook pages (mostly those targeting Muslims) and even casual commentators fell for the fake news being pushed by those who claimed that Russia and Turkey are preparing to dispatch a joint peacekeeping mission to Palestine. This reflects just how unaware those individuals are of those two countries’ relations with “Israel” (due to a large extent to the years’ worth of fake news they’ve been indoctrinated into believing about that topic) as well as how desperate they are to believe that some Great Powers are assembling the peacekeeping mission that so many of them sincerely hope for. What’s most regrettable about this latest fake news narrative is that it’s bound to be debunked by subsequent developments and result in people’s unrealistically high and completely manufactured hopes being shattered in the coming future, after which they’ll likely be confused and perhaps more susceptible to anti-Russian and -Turkish narratives.
It’s everyone’s right to believe whatever they want, whether it’s the fake news about those two allegedly assembling a joint peacekeeping force for Palestine or any critical interpretations of their policies (whether in general or specific to this or another issue), but folks also deserve to be informed that they’ve been misled whenever viral fake news succeeds in convincing them of something that isn’t true. Nobody wants to have their hopes shattered, especially if the latter were unrealistically high and the result of fake news, hence the obligation that every sincere member of the AMC has to inform their fellows whenever this is happening. President Erdogan knows very well that no such peacekeeping mission is going to happen, but he brought it up with President Putin in order to create a soft power talking point that could boost his country’s supposed anti-Zionist credentials. It was thus nothing more than a tactical infowar move and nothing to be taken seriously.
Russia’s decision to assemble a list of unfriendly states whose diplomatic missions would be prohibited from hiring locals and perhaps also subject to other restrictions is long overdue and shows that the country is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started.
President Putin signed a decree on countermeasures against unfriendly states on Friday, which would prohibit their diplomatic missions from hiring locals and perhaps also subject them to other restrictions in the future. The average person might not understand the importance of this move, but it basically means that those countries will have to staff lower-level administrative and other positions with their own highly trained diplomats instead of hiring locals to do the work. In other words, this diminishes those countries’ diplomatic capabilities because overqualified individuals are forced to do basic tasks instead of focus on more important matters. Since every country only has a limited number of diplomats, this might at least in theory make it more difficult for them to destabilize their host state, in this case Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the US will be on that list of unfriendly states, while it remains to be seen which other countries will be designated as such alongside it. In any case, this move is long overdue and shows that Russia is finally taking the New Cold War very seriously approximately seven years after it first started. The prior approach had been to refer to all countries, even obvious opponents, as so-called “partners” in order to retain a degree of “professionalism” in their relations. Russia’s adherence to classic diplomatic norms wasn’t reciprocated by the US, though, which continued to openly declare that Russia was a rival, if not an outright enemy. The diplomatic mood never recovered despite Russia’s best wishes to the contrary.
The last four years of former President Trump’s reign remain a major disappointment in the minds of many in Moscow who hoped that a “New Detente” would have been brokered between them by now. Regrettably, subversive elements of the country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) successfully sabotaged the elected head of state’s foreign policy in this respect, which ruin bilateral relations and set the stage for President Biden to recently make them even worse. It’s therefore appropriate that Russia finally recalibrates its diplomatic stance towards the US and its proxies by bringing it in line with the new norms that the latter have imposed upon it all this time. Although the Mainstream Media will likely spin this move as “unprovoked aggression”, it’s actually a legitimate response against US aggression.
The significance of Russia’s decision to designate certain countries as unfriendly states and subsequently impose various restrictions upon their diplomatic activities suggests that the current state of tension between it and the West will remain the “new normal” for the indefinite future. Neither side is likely to backtrack on its stance towards the either, with each being convinced of the righteousness of their actions, for better (like in Russia’s case) or for worse (like in America’s). The recent expulsion of Russian diplomats in Czechia and several other countries speaks to how serious this “deep state” war between them has become. If there’s any silver lining to this state of affairs, it’s that Russia might finally begin the active containment of America according to the 20-point plan that I suggested in February, which would greatly improve its HybridWar resilience.
The latest de-escalation in Donbass is attributable to Russia’s resoluteness in refusing to fall into the US’ Hybrid War trap of launching an all-out military intervention there in support of its legal interests while nevertheless flexing its muscles in this respect by sending the signal that it reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its border and/or citizens if they’re seriously threatened.
The month of April was marked by serious tension in the Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass after Kiev appeared to be gearing up for an Operation Storm-like genocidal advance against the Russian-friendly separatists there which many predicted might trigger a major military response from Moscow. Of course, the Mainstream Media flipped the victims and villains in order to misportray Russia as the aggressor even though it was Ukraine that declined to implement its legal obligations as agreed to during the Minsk peace process and thus unilaterally worsened the situation. I published two analyses at the time explaining the complicated dynamics of those tense events, which should be reviewed by interested readers in case they aren’t already familiar with them:
Basically, Kiev was being put up to this by its Washington patron which wanted to provoke a scenario that would make it politically impossible for most of the EU nations to purchase Russia’s Sputnik V like they were reportedly planning to do up until that point. The US feared the long-term strategic impact of improved Russian-EU relations as a result of their prospective epidemiological cooperation. It hoped to “bait the bear” into launching an all-out military intervention in support of its border and/or citizens, which could in turn function as a HybridWar trap for creating an Afghan-like quagmire in the worst-case scenario. Russia refused to fall for this scheme but nevertheless flexed its muscles by sending the signal that it still reserves the right to deliver a crushing strike in defense of its legal interests if they’re threatened, which got the West to back off.
The situation could of course change at any moment since the strategic dynamics haven’t changed all that much, but Russia’s confident moves must have made the West rethink the wisdom of this Hybrid War plot considering the obviously unacceptable costs that it would likely entail. For the moment at least, everything seems to be de-escalating a bit as a result of Russia’s prudent policy. The Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia was manufactured to serve as a convenient distraction from Western warmongers backtracking in Eastern Ukraine since their leadership couldn’t openly acknowledge that they blinked in the face of Russian resoluteness lest they lose credibility with their populace which has been hyped up by anti-Russian propaganda. This was followed by President Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly and the end of Russian drills in the south.
About those last two, they’re actually interconnected if one takes the time to think about them. The Russian leader very clearly implied that his country’s red lines are connected not only to conventional security interests such as the obvious ones in Eastern Ukraine that everyone had been talking about up until that point, but also “Democratic Security” insofar as announcing how unacceptable the recently foiled Belarusian regime change plot was. Without saying as much but clearly hinting in this direction, President Putin was conveying the message that the West mustn’t dare even think about attempting to assassinate him, stage a Color Revolution (the ongoing Navalny-inspired unrest isn’t a serious threat), try to co-opt military officials for a coup plot, or launch a crippling cyber offensive attack to shut down the national capital like was all planned for Belarus.
Since Russia’s southern military drills were sufficient enough to prove how resolute it was in defending its legal interests if need be, and considering the fact that the West had already begun to de facto de-escalate the situation by staging the Russian “spy” distraction in Czechia and subsequent expulsion of diplomats across a growing number of European countries, it naturally followed that Russia would reciprocate by ending its exercises. Moscow had already managed to show the West that it won’t be pushed around, and its military forces can always snap back into action at a moment’s notice if the situation requires them to do so. In other words, those drills and President Putin’s very clearly implied “Democratic Security” (counter-Hybrid War) red lines were responsible for getting the West to de-escalate, after which Russia responded in kind as is the norm.
The lessons to be learned are several. Firstly, Russia is much too wise to fall into Hybrid War traps that are so obviously laid out for it. Secondly, it still succeeded in showing its opponents that they’ll suffer unacceptably high costs for their schemes if they force Russia to militarily respond in a limited way in defense of its legal interests. Thirdly, awareness of these first two points resulted in a rethink of Western strategy, which was fourthly followed by their desperate manufacturing of the Russian “spy” scandal in Czechia to distract their hyped-up Russophobic populations that had expected the West to be the one to deliver a crushing blow to Russia and not the inverse. Fifthly, Russia conveyed its “Democratic Security” red lines, thereby essentially expanding the list of unacceptable actions against it which could provoke a hot war in the worst-case scenario.
This sequence of events explains the latest de-escalation in Donbass, but observers must remember that the present respite might only be short-lived since the strategic dynamics that provoked the original tensions still remain. There’s nothing stopping the West from trying to provoke Russia again and again, albeit perhaps modifying their approach each time. That would of course increase the chances of a war by miscalculation and contradict the so-called “rational actor theory” upon which many had (naively?) premised their understanding of International Relations up until this point. It might still be premature to predict that this will happen and that the US isn’t behaving rationally since it did after all de-escalate, though only in the face of Russian resoluteness, but everything should become much clearer by the time NATO’s Defender Europe 2021 drills end in June.
President Putin used the global attention afforded to him during his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday to raise widespread awareness of the Belarusian coup attempt that his security services helped foil last weekend but which has since been mostly ignored by the Western Mainstream Media.
The Hybrid War On Belarus
The ongoing HybridWar on Belarus could have taken a dramatic turn for the worse had the Russian security services and their Belarusian counterparts not foiled an assassination and coup attempt against President Lukashenko over the weekend that was being planned for the very near future. President Putin remarked about this near the end of his approximately 1,5-hour-long annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, wisely using the global attention afforded to him during this time to raise widespread awareness of this scheme. The Russian leader even remarked how strange it was that the West has been mostly ignoring this dramatic development despite the potential consequences of its successful implementation predictably being disastrous for the Eastern European nation.
The News Story That Never Broke
Another point to keep in mind is that his spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed the press on Monday that President Putin discussed the issue with his American counterpart during their last phone call, which strongly suggests that the US government might have pressured its Mainstream Media proxies not to report on that aspect of their conversation. After all, there were plenty of leaks in the last administration, yet curiously barely any have thus have happened in the present one. Nevertheless, Russian media reported on the scandal over the weekend after it first broke, but few outlets elsewhere picked up on it. It can’t be known for sure, but apart from the previously mentioned reasonable speculation, this might also be attributable to self-censorship. Some outlets might simply not want to portray Biden’s foreign policy in any negative light.
Although the US officially denied any involvement in the plot, the details that the media disclosed about it (and which President Putin also repeated to everyone on Wednesday) bear the hallmarks of American tradecraft. The scheme involved assassinating President Lukashenko, reportedly during the military parade on Victory Day (9 May), which was to have been followed by a military coup carried out by compromised elements of the armed forces. In addition, the capital of Minsk was supposed to have been cut off from the rest of the country and victimized by a massive power outage, presumably as a result of a cyber offensive operation. The ongoing Color Revolution movement would have also been ordered to repeat the EuroMaidan scenario of all-out urban terrorism during this sensitive time in order to ensure that the coup succeeds by one means or another.
The Ukrainian & Venezuelan Precedents
President Putin compared this plot to what had previously been employed against former Ukrainian President Yanukovich and current Venezuelan President Maduro, thereby implying an American hand in the reported Belarusian events considering that the US’ leading tactical and strategic involvement in the prior two bears close resemblance to the Belarusian scenario. The Western Mainstream Media wanted to keep silent about this scheme out of fear of making Biden look bad since their targeted audience has been indoctrinated into thinking that he’s a comprehensive improvement upon everything that former US President Trump earlier was. If Biden – or rather, the military, intelligence, and diplomatic power structure (“deep state”) behind him – was implicated in a foreign assassination and coup attempt, then it might raise questions about whether the US’ ostensibly “democratically driven” regime change last November actually changed anything across the world.
Biden’s Following In Trump’s Footsteps
It shouldn’t be forgotten that despite legally discredited accusations of being a so-called “Russian puppet”, former President Trump did more to destabilize Russia than any US leader in history, which in this context includes organizing the ongoing Hybrid War on Belarus. Biden is therefore following in Trump’s footsteps whether his supporters acknowledge it or not, but this observation is very “politically inconvenient” for his base and must therefore be suppressed from the public’s consciousness. That explains why it’s practically forbidden from being discussed by the Mainstream Media, but that might have suddenly changed after President Putin ensured that the whole world became aware of it during his address to the Federal Assembly. He didn’t just do this to spite Biden, though, but for very practical reasons related to Russia’s national security interests.
Belarusian Threats = Russian Threats
The context in which the Russian leader talked about the foiled assassination and coup attempt in neighboring Belarus concerned the West’s larger campaign of maximum pressure against his country. Since Belarus is a civilizationally similar state that’s also proudly part of what many in Moscow consider the so-called “Russian World”, it naturally follows that its latest Hybrid War intrigue directly threatens Russia itself since the successful implementation of that regime change scenario could one day result in its replication inside Russia too. The socio-economic and even political situations are remarkably similar between those two nations, even though their security capabilities are incomparable by virtue of Russia being a Great Power while Belarus is simply a moderately sized regional state with very limited influence even within its own neighborhood.
Russia’s Red Lines
Even so, President Putin warned his country’s opponents against getting any crazy ideas by attempting to cross Russia’s red lines, which he said his country will draw at its own discretion on a case-by-case basis. Considering that he had just finished talking about the latest Hybrid War escalation against neighboring Belarus with which Russia has a mutual defense treaty through the CSTO and which is civilizationally similar to his own country, the implied message is obvious and it’s that Moscow won’t tolerate any such plots being attempted within its own borders. It would arguably constitute the crossing of a very clear red line if the West attempted (let alone coordinated) the assassination of President Putin, a military coup, a serious Color Revolution (the Navalny-inspired one isn’t all that threatening), and/or a crippling cyber attack.
The Truth About The New Cold War
The Belarusian attempt was foiled which is why it’s not being discussed by the Western Mainstream Media because of how embarrassing this failure is for their leaders. It also confirms what President Putin has been saying all along, namely that the real aggressor in the New Cold War isn’t Russia, but the West and especially the US. Most of the people living in the West have been indoctrinated through an incessant stream of propaganda and intense perception management operations into thinking the inverse, but even these brainwashed masses might reconsider their dogmatic beliefs if they took the time to reflect on the implications of their governments organizing the assassination of a Russian-friendly foreign leader and a military coup against him. That might, in the “worst-case scenario” from their leaders’ perspectives, get them to wake up.
Many of President Putin’s foreign supporters oftentimes describe him as “5D chess grandmaster”, and while this label is sometimes laughably exploited to deflect from some seemingly unsavory parts of his foreign policy such as Russia’s indisputablealliancewith “Israel”, it can be said that this time it’s right on the mark when talking about his strategic genius in bringing up the foiled assassination and coup attempt in Belarus during his address to the Federal Assembly. The Russian leader broke through the Western Mainstream Media’s censorship firewall and forced this politically suppressed issue into the wider discussion, though it remains to be seen whether it’ll have any meaningful impact on public perceptions. In any case, it was a wily move to make and completely in line with the Russian leader’s style of responding to the West in asymmetrical ways.
The American and Russian Presidents have a slew of issues to discuss in the event that they meet in person sometime in the coming future like Biden proposed doing during their last phone conversation, but the most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Biden-Putin Summit Plans
Russian-American tensions are at an historic high for the post-1991 period so it’s sensible that President Biden proposed to hold an in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart during their last phone conversation in order “to discuss the full range of issues” facing their countries. The most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the long-running conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine, but other issues would of course also be brought up. What follows is a list of the most pressing problems between these two Great Powers in the order of their significance. Each point includes a summary of their respective positions and what a compromise might look like if one’s realistically possible:
The White House’s readout of their call noted “the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty”, which was reflected by the Kremlin also referencing “strategic stability and arms control”. Both countries therefore share the common desire to build upon the New START Treaty’s last-minute extension in February, though it’s unclear in what direction this might go. The prior US administration demanded that China join all such forthcoming talks while Russia respects Beijing’s right not to do so. The ideal scenario would be if all relevant powers made proportionate cuts to their pertinent arsenals, but that might not be realistic.
This hot button issue concerns more than just politically resolving the Eastern European country’s civil war in line with the Minsk Accords that US-backed Kiev has thus far refused to implement despite previously agreeing to them. It also involves NATO’s aggressive forward posturing in the region and its support for Ukraine’s anti-Russian activities, including against Crimea. The situation is so tense at the moment that a war might even break out before the Russian and American leaders meet, with the subsequently feared brinksmanship potentially serving as the reason to expedite their summit plans. The best-case scenario would be if the US assesses the seriousness of the situation and finally pressures Kiev to implement the Minsk Accords.
The Kremlin’s readout reported “the situation in Afghanistan”, which was missing from the White House’s, but this issue will likely be at the fore of their discussions considering that the US plans to fully withdraw from that country by 9/11 this year. Both Great Powers have recently seen their positions converge insofar as supporting an inclusive transitional government in which the officially terrorist-designated Taliban participates as the only pragmatic political outcome of the conflict. The challenge is that the Taliban reacted negatively to the US’ announcement that it’ll miss its originally scheduled deadline for withdrawing by 1 May, so it remains to be seen whether the fragile ceasefire between those two holds long enough for the meeting to occur.
Syria didn’t warrant a mention on either government’s readout so it’s unclear whether it was brought up during their last discussion, but it’s nevertheless a major issue between them that can’t be ignored. The US retains occupation forces in the northeast beyond the de facto “internal partition” line of the Euphrates River, and its widely reported support of terrorist forces in the country is a major impediment to the conflict’s resolution. Moreover, the US’ political proxies have hitherto obstructed the parallel peace processes, so something must be done in order to make progress on these tracks. The only realistic compromise would be “decentralization” and Damascus requesting Iran’s dignified but phased withdrawal from the country, but the latter still seems unlikely.
The US is slowly realizing that it made a major mistake by triggering Russia’s historical siege mentality, pushing it closer to China in response, and provoking Moscow to actively seek Washington’s containment all across the world. Even a simple thought exercise embracing the US’ infamous zero-sum outlook on International Relations suggests that this works out to America’s grand strategic disadvantage while being one of the best-ever scenarios for China. Accordingly, Biden’s team might attempt to court Russia into reversing its recent American-provoked foreign policy pivot so as to restore Moscow’s traditional “balancing” act between East and West, but this outcome is only possible in the event credible progress is made on a “New Detente”.
The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is another major issue of disagreement between the US and Russia, but one which also attracts their interest more than ever after Iran recently clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal with China. That agreement stands the chance to revolutionize the greater region’s geostrategic situation through the expansion of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to West Asia via W-CPEC+, which was an unexpected game-changing development that seemingly caught both the US and Russia off guard. Not only will they seek to address the immediate nuclear-related issue, but they might also discuss ways to manage this new regional geostrategic reality, perhaps in an indirectly joint way if they make progress on a “New Detente”.
The so-called “Mideast Peace Process” (MEPP) is also an area of mutual concern for Russia and the US. Both Great Powers are also allied with “Israel” to different extents, with Russia’s largely under-discussed relationship being the result of skillful policymaking at the presidential level through Putin’s personal diplomacy with his close friend Prime Minister Netanyahu (background context here, here, here, here, and here). Since Biden is attempting to balance the US’ regional relationships a bit more than Trump did, it’s possible that he’ll walk back his predecessor’s so-called “Deal of the Century” and thus help pave the way for his country and Russia to jointly herald at least the symbolic creation of a Palestinian state, though it’ll still take a while for this to occur.
Biden will almost certainly bring up the discredited Russiagate conspiracy theory due to domestic pressure from his base. This speculative aspect of their discussion would be entirely symbolic since it’s what many have rightly called a “nothingburger”. It’ll only be talked about for appearance’s sake, the same as Navalny‘s imprisonment might too if that’s even brought up that is. As for climate change, this is a “neutral” means through which the two could at least superficially cooperate more closely and result in a semi-tangibly positive outcome to their planned summit. Both of their leaders agree on the need to thwart this threat, but there really isn’t much that they can do together. Still, it could make for some good headlines if they release a joint statement about it.