Analysis, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Side Feature, South Asia

Political Chats Q&A 31st Oct 2022

1- The questioner asks: Is it possible to conclude an agreement like the Kennedy and Khrushchev agreement in 1961, which America concludes one with China? Can we say this? Especially since China as a global economic power has become the number one threat to US power? Also, what does America’s threat to China in Taiwan have to do with that?

Concluding such an agreement is unlikely. Rather, America is working to involve China in a war with Taiwan so that it can contain it and make it subject to its will. As well as to prevent it from supporting Russia in Ukraine. It is carrying out actions that provoke China and is forming alliances around it to work against it and impose sanctions on it. It launched an economic war against it, and therefore it appears that it will continue these actions until the Taiwan issue somehow ends, because China insists on annexing Taiwan even by force, as stated by its president, Xi Jinping, who has a renewed third presidential term for a period of five years; he said: “China reserves the right to use force over Taiwan as a last resort in compelling circumstances,” (Al-Jazeera 16/10/2022). China is observing what is happening in Ukraine and how matters will develop, so that the tragedy does not repeat in it if Russia suffers a heavy defeat in Ukraine. We saw that it had refrained from supporting Russia in Ukraine, but rather retracted after initially announcing Russia’s support to the fullest extent and signing an agreement with it in this regard and then took a neutral position. This position harmed Russia, which Putin described as a balanced position, expressing an understanding of China’s position so as not to lose it if he reprimanded or criticized it. Therefore, it is possible that America will not conclude an international sharing agreement with it as it did with the former Soviet Union until it exhausts all these actions. Also, it will not conclude an agreement with it to establish an area of ​​influence in the South and East China Seas, as it mobilizes countries against it and works to prevent it from controlling these two areas.

2- The questioner states: (Russia could have responded “like the Cuban missile crisis” by threatening the United States in close proximity to it, as the former Soviet Union did… so why didn’t it do so?)

This statement is unrealistic for Russia, which feels and recognizes that America is stronger than it. This is in contrast to the Soviet Union, whose power was parallel to that of the United States. To delve deeper into these meanings, the nuclear power of both countries today is almost equal, but America has a missile shield that protects it from Russia’s missiles, Russia does not have such a shield. What Russia has announced of manufacturing new missiles capable of bypassing the missile shield is still in its early stages, meaning that the number of Russia’s nuclear missiles that can reach the American lands and bypass the missile shield are few in active service, and in contrast, all the old American missiles installed to reach the Russian lands can still do that.

This is in addition to the tremendous progress in American conventional weapons such as drones, stealth aircraft and smart missiles that Russia has no comparable counterpart to, as the Ukrainian war proved that the Russian air force is weak and cannot even control the airspace of a country like Ukraine, and its drones are lagging behind. Reports speak of their use of Iranian drones in the Ukraine war. In addition to other major weaknesses of Russia’s conventional forces, that the war in Ukraine exposed, and exposed its delusions of grandeur. Which superpower is that which cannot, in about eight months, defeat a small country like Ukraine, even if it receives Western support?! What greatness for Russia, which hastened to withdraw from around the capital Kiev at the beginning of the war, before Western support for Ukraine increased?! That is, when Ukraine was less powerful! Therefore, as I said earlier; this saying (that Russia can respond “like the Cuban missile crisis” by threatening the United States in close proximity) is unrealistic, because Russia today is not like the Soviet Union in those days when the Cuban missile crisis happened.

3- As for the issue of international partnership mentioned in the question, it means for the Americans that the major countries serve America’s interests in return for America’s agreement to give it something from the international spoils that America decides. For example, Russia agreed to serve America’s interests in Syria, so it carried out its military intervention was in 2015, and Russia emerged as a major country and the reputation of the Russian “veto” in the Security Council became known, this is an international booty not to be underestimated. America wanted to transfer Russian services to America to the basin of China against North Korea and against China. However, Russia refused, and when America was sure of Russia’s refusal, America began to minimize Russia’s role, which seemed to be dominant in Syria, and annoyed it in many issues such as the Azerbaijan and Armenia war and many others.

This is the American thinking, as Washington does not think about sharing influence with anyone, but rather thinks of involving other countries that are called major countries with it to help them achieve American interests around the world in return for some international spoils that America agrees to give to this or that country. This is the American line of thinking with China, with Russia and with European countries. Today, this includes America’s expanding of Germany’s role in eastern Europe in the face of Russia, but all this is under the supervision and planning of the American leadership. And if Germany decides to depart from the American leadership and from its planning and acts alone, then America will harass it. This is the logic that dominates American thinking.

4- As for the statement in the question, “Why did the United States not impose sanctions on India when it agreed to import oil from Russia?”

America did not impose sanctions on India because this threatens the fate of its agents in India led by Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. Thus, it did not oppose its purchase of gas and oil from Russia because it could not provide it with an alternative. If India stopped its purchase of energy resources from Russia, as happened in Germany, prices would double in India, which the people of India cannot afford. It would affect the pro-American government of Modi, and thus bring it down, an opportunity awaited by the still powerful English agents of the Indian Congress party in India. It even allows it to continue buying weapons from Russia, as is customary since the era of the Congress party, which ruled India for most of the periods since its founding in 1947 until 1998. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came for the first time and ruled until 2004, and then the Congress party returned to rule India until 2014. After that, the BJP returned to power until today, and its success was due to concessions from the puppet rulers of Pakistan.

Then America commanded them, especially in Kashmir, which increased the popularity of this party. That is why when India bought S-400 missiles from Russia, America did not impose sanctions on it as it imposed on Turkey. Rather, it exempted India from sanctions within the framework of combating America’s enemies through the Sanctions Act, known for its acronym CAATSA, where the US House of Representatives approved the exemption as part of its approval of the budget of the American Defence Ministry for the year 2023 on 14/7/2022, claiming that “the waiver of sanctions will strengthen the defence ties between the United States and India” (Anatolia 16/7/2022). This was considered a blatant double standard as it was imposed on Turkey for this purpose within the framework of this law while it was not imposed on India, which indicates that America is afraid of losing its influence in India with the fall of its agents in the Bharatiya Janata Party if such sanctions are imposed on it and prevented from buying energy resources from Russia. While this does not affect Erdogan and his government, which revolves in its orbit, but rather increases his popularity and covers up his ties to America.

5- As for the other points mentioned in the questions about oil and gas, the answers are as follows:

a- Europe is the number one victim / aggrieved by the disruption of Russian energy supply chains, because Europe sees the dangers of Russia’s expansion close to it, so it wants, in agreement with America, to be more capable to confront Russia when it is not dependent on its gas and oil, and it is ready to bear the consequences. Therefore, it is not said that America is directing Europe to get rid of Russian energy dependence, although this American orientation is an old American strategy again. Rather, it can be said that America succeeded by hardening Ukraine’s positions, supporting and dragging it towards the West by involving Russia in Ukraine, i.e., it has succeeded through decades of intervention in Ukraine by pushing Russia into this corner that can only be understood as a threat to the whole of Europe. When Russia’s threat to Europe became present and real, the European countries voluntarily aligned with the American strategy and then cut off Russian energy resources from Europe. This was followed by the rise in natural gas prices as this was the gas that came to it through many pipelines and not through marine tankers that transport liquefied gas, so it was cheap in price. When those pipelines “cut off”, it became necessary for them to import it mostly through marine tankers, and this is expensive because of the gas liquefaction industry in the countries that export it and then returning it to the gaseous state in the importing countries in Europe.

b- As for oil, its prices rose globally, not only in Europe, unlike gas. America was also affected by the rise in the price of oil, and the same can be said about the grains’ sources, Russian and Ukrainian, that were disrupted, meaning that the rise in grain prices was also global and not only European. In Europe, as in the rest of the world, the issue of grain and oil shortages is a matter of high prices due to the possibility of transporting it from regions other than Russia and Ukraine. As for natural gas, it is not the same because of the modernity of the gas liquefaction industry and the relative scarcity of gas tankers, also contributed to this is the increase in the world’s dependence on natural gas for reasons that have been promoted over decades related to the environment and climate, that is, it is less polluting and dangerous than others such as coal and nuclear energy.

c- As for America dreaming of pricing natural gas internationally in dollars, this is certain, but there are major obstacles. Russia agrees with China and other countries on trade exchange in local currencies, and this is a Russian approach that has made its way since 2014. Many countries have been thinking about the same since the financial crisis of 2009, when the countries of the world discovered their heavy dependence on the American dollar. It can be said that the non-dollar trade exchange approach has actually paved its way in the world, although it is still limited. Perhaps with America’s raised interest rates and the new strong dollar policy that it adopted in 2022, it wants to restore confidence in the dollar and weaken that approach to trade exchange in other local currencies. In the long run, climate policies lead to more dependence on natural gas internationally, and an increase in the importance of this source of energy, and therefore the issue of pricing it in dollars will be of great benefit to America.

d- It may be more important to consider the success of America’s efforts to cut gas supply chains between Russia and Europe through pipelines such as the Nord Stream lines as cutting off power lines that are not controlled by the United States, and this indicates that America did not pressure Turkey to cut gas lines with Russia on considering that Turkey is linked to America. President Putin of Russia announced the intentions of establishing a Turkish center to supply Russian gas to Europe, meaning that America wants the trade of Russian gas to Europe in the future through ways controlled by Washington.

6 Rabii’ Al-Akhir 1444 AH – 31/10/2022 CE