Friday, March 21, 2014

Signing the Association Agreement with the Interim Government in Ukraine is equivalent to the beginning the New Cold War Era.

Following this hasty decision, the USA and EU should be prepared for Russian harder reaction and retaliation in different directions. Among these, the lack of Russian proper cooperation in NATO exit plan from Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war, Iran's nuclear negotiation could be mentioned. In addition, we might observe more domestic tension within Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian ethnic groups. If the current dispute in Ukraine continues the same as it is now, Russia might unilaterally withdraw from the New START treaty as well.

In sum, we are gradually entering a New Cold War Era. I repeat my previous words once again in this matter. The New Cold War era would be more devastating for the international community particularly for the EU, much more than the previous one, based on many reasons as follows.

1- Putin is neither Yeltsin nor Gorbachev nor Medvedev.

2- The USA and EU had promised lots of things to Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Jeffrey Sachs correctly states, the West did not keep its promises. This, simply, means that Russia would not trust the USA and EU anymore. Such a mistrust and suspicion about the West would remain and grow in Kremlin even after the presidency of Vladimir Putin.

3- Contemporary Russia cannot be compared with Russia after the Second World War or during the Cold War Era or even Russia in 1990's in different terms.

4- During the Cold War Era, the then Soviet Union has had massive and heavy responsibilities in different terms for many countries around the World. Contemporary Russia does not have such burdens.

5- The atmosphere of the international community has changed in different terms in comparison with the Cold War Era. The West might be able to put a pressure on Russia at the present time; but this is Russia that would win this struggle in the long term.
6- Such a harsh reaction of the West against Russia would undoubtedly promote and elevate the position of Russia among many third world countries around the glob including Russia's close allies. This promotion could be applied for President Putin himself among the Russian people as well. 

7- The upcoming New Cold War Era would impose massive unnecessary costs to the EU in terms of security concern. Such an event would not be so easy and pleasant for the EU, while the whole world including the EU itself is experiencing a global economic downturn.

 8- The Western media have begun with new propaganda by saying that Russian economy is in a bad shape. I'm wondering: are the Western countries in a good shape when it comes to the economic growth? Do some countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Island and even the USA itself have good economic shape?  

9- One more issue to mention is the type of economic system that Russia currently has. Russian model of economy is not a productive type of capitalism like Germany for example. Russia obtains most of its revenue from its oil and gas exports. These are the products that there is always demand for them even at a global economic downturn that we are experiencing now. From this, we can deduce that in such a global economic downturn, imposing economic sanction, does not put too much pressure on Russia as the Western media exaggerate. The West might be able to use all its leverages and for example, some Credit rating agencies have downgraded Russia's credit at the global market now. But this issue is temporarily and would not be so harmful for Russia. Because the USA and EU would experience a huge shock in the beginning of 2015, when the Chines Yuan will enter the International market. Following such a event, Russia would be relieved.

10- The most important issue is the dependency of the EU on Russian oil, gas, Uranium and coal.  How would the EU be able to deal with this issue, if the tension between Russia and the West escalates and reaches a critical point? Would the EU be able to import its necessary oil and gas for some other countries? In this respect, some countries in North Africa such as Algeria and Libya are two potential options. Leaving aside the price and costs, Algeria alone cannot provide enough oil and gas for the EU. The situation in Libya is also worse due to the wrong policy of the West by removing Qaddafi form the power. Libya is currently drowned in a devastating civil war among different war lords and the total amount of extracted oil in this country has decreased from nearly 2.5 million bbl a day during Qaddafi regime to nearly 400,000 bbl a day at the present time. Would the EU be able to use coal instead of its necessary oil and gas? In this respect, the UK is a good option, but the EU is then facing the pollution  problem. Would the EU be able to import its necessary oil, gas and coal from the USA? Leaving aside the price and costs, such a option at the present time is also impossible.

 11- In addition to all mentioned above, we should not forget that harsh reaction against Russia would provoke and consequently would facilitate an opportunity for all the Russian citizens, who live within the EU, to apply for self-determination and autonomy. Such an event would destabilize many countries in the region.

These are just a few samples, but I'm pretty sure that the negative consequences would  be much more than i have noted above. Do the policy makers in the EU think about such negative consequences with regard to the current tension in Ukraine? I don't think so. If the politicians in the EU would perform a simple "Cost and Benefit Analysis" (mainly In two economic and security directions) with regard to the current tension in Ukraine, they would understand that the harsh reaction in this matter would be more harmful for them rather than Russia particularly in the long term. But such a tension would be beneficial for the USA from different angles in both short and long term.

M. Sirani                              21.03.2014