by Jo Red for the Saker blog
In war, as in life more generally, the concept of tempo is essential.
In his masterpiece Philosophy and Real Politics, British “Leninist” philosopher Raymond Geuss emphasizes “priorities, preferences, timing” (p. 30) as defining differences between “real politics” and the abstract, universalistic philosophy that flattens everything in the unfathomable ignorance of timeless present and depthless surface.
Be reminded of that while you celebrate Putin’s birthday by cheering at the destruction of the Crimean bridge – and the loss of 3 innocent lives. Please be reminded of that. Either one or the other must hold: you plan and execute war – just like anything else – with a view to its intrinsic logic – dictating its own and specific tempo – or else, you go on the offensive and strike with an ear for audience and a view for choreographic photo ops. No, world history and Putin’s, or any other individual’s, private life events being synchronized is not a possibility. That’s called “delusion of reference” and might be a sign of serious mental illness.
The point I’m trying to get across is that, contrary to Ukraine, Russia will not rush to respond to Ukraine’s symbolic provocations in the timing of any mediatic agenda. Big Serge has explained very convincingly that they are probably following the schedule dictated by military and political necessity, rather than the “events” that attract the attention of Western so-called “politicians”. By the way, has Zelensky been reminded of Putin’s b-day by Facebook?
Be it as it may, it would be a mistake to think that, because of the advances of the Ukrainians on the ground, Russia’s offensive is not “proceeding”. While the UA’s junta continues to push Ukraine’s youth forward to be uselessly massacred in occupying some almost empty 2000 sq km under Russian target shooting, global developments unfold in the embarrassed “distraction” of Western media.
Putin in his recent speech, Pope Francis since years ago, and well, just anybody else at this point has been able to tell you that this is a global war. The Nord Stream sabotage at the hands of the Anglo-Americans is only additional, unnecessary evidence that the confrontation with Russia reaches from Caucasus to the Danish Sea and beyond.
Only a few days ago, an anti-French and pro-Russian uprising expelled the latest iteration of Parish’s endeared viceroys in the country. I won’t deny that seeing so many, newly liberated Africans waving the Russian flag moved me. It is just another step in the global anti-colonial, liberation struggle outlined by Putin in his programmatic speech.
If you like counting square km, well Burkina Faso stretches over 274 200. The 74th country in the world by surface, with a population of 20 million: we could say, average size. I know, I know, anything happening South to the Mediterranean and involving Black people is irrelevant until they are slave-traded and “integrated” into the Metropolis: only then, and only if they vote right (i.e. left) Black Lives Matter. But whatever the Western empire’s propaganda is saying – or conceiling – the truth is that the colonies are absolutely vital for its hegemony. Africa is the youngest continent, and possibly the richest in resources: it is no coincidence if the French, British, and nowadays the American continue to feast on it. France will simply be unable to retain its standard of living without its neo-colonies. And that moment is coming. The Central African Republic, Mali, and now Burkina, have recently broken free. And it is everything but unlikely that other states in the area will follow. Nearby, Niger and Chad still suffer under the French yoke, but not passively. The Chadian dictator Idriss Déby died at the hands of the rebel in 2021, and his young son is now leading the country. The local junta has just postponed free elections by another two years, yet obviously, as these are NATO’s friends, you won’t read or hear about violations of democracy.
On to another plexus in world power, the Middle East is undergoing a seismic-range transformation as the divides that defined the region cannot be taken for granted anymore. It is already some time since Turkey has timidly restarted some dialogue with Syria. Iran only drew nearer to Russia and China by entering the SCO. Besides being key in assembling a union of Caspian states, ripe with strategic and economic relevance, including tourism, Teheran is pushed in the arms of the continental powers by the suicidal policies of the West. Divide et impera, divide and rule, has been the leitmotiv of any empire since at least the times of the Romans. The US followed it rather carefully, for instance when they divided Russia from China under Nixon’s administration. Now they’re provoking China in Taiwan at the same time as they’re fighting a hybrid war with Russia in Ukraine, and with their imaginary third arm they believe to be able to overturn the Ayatollahs. Evidently, this hubris has since long divorced reason. The US could not deal the coup the grace in the ‘90s and early 2000s, when Russia and China were busy with their own problems if not actively helping the West. Imagining that it could succeed in after decades of internal decline, while fighting an emboldened decolonizing coalition, and at the same time pursuing contradictory attempts at détente to signal discontinuity with Trump is worse than preposterous. The SCO should reward #Iranianlivesmatter, #Iranrevolution, women cutting hairlocks worldwide and such as its most effective PR campaign.
However relevant, this is not even the most significant and impressive turn that has been taken in recent days. Even Western press could not ignore the “detail” that OPEC+, at its summit in Vienna, has brutally smashed US hopes to avoid a reduction in oil outputs in order to keep the prices low. After having played with his declarations, journalists challenged the Saudi representative, who ended up refusing to answer questions from Reuters. They probably did not get the memo that the imperial arrogance of the US is not swallowed with the same servility all the world over anymore. But most interestingly, the Saudis have also explained that they have not been convinced by Russia about the oil prices but are simply protecting their country’s economic interests. Even more outrageous to American ears! They speak of interests that are not our own! How dare they!
At this point, even Biden must be realizing that there were deeper reasons behind the Saudi prince’s decline of his phone call already in March, besides inflicting him and the American government the umpteenth humiliation on the world stage. Not only the US are finally given the brush-off in one of the most important regions of the world: the latter is actively being reshaped by the hatred of them. The Middle East connects three continents, including the two largest, not to mention oceans and seas, and by controlling its straits the Anglo-American have been able to choke the world economy for well over a century. Add the infamously rich resources of the region. It is no coincidence that the same Raymond Geuss considers the British loss of control of the Suez strait in 1956 as the end of their empire, more than the independence of India. Let’s not forget this was “facilitated” by Khrushchev’s threat at the UN to resort to missiles in case the colonial powers did not withdraw from Egypt.
The region continued to be torn apart by the West’s skillful exploitation of its ideological, social, national, and especially religious diversity: first of all, the conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. These are behind the most dramatic – and almost completely ignored – humanitarian crisis of our time: the devastation of Yemen.
It won’t be easy, but if the interests of such opposite countries as Saudi Arabia and Iran were to align, with a little help by American hostile resentment against the independence of both, and perhaps a friendly nudge by Russia (and China), this would be a massive blow to Western hegemony. Much more than the temporary occupation of I don’t know how many soccer fields in rural Ukraine.
Last but not least, let’s not forget the Americas. One of the most outspoken admirers of Russia, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is currently not represented at the Organization of the American States. Still, when the OAS voted on a resolution to condemn Russia’s referendums on October 7th, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico voted against.
Of course, in the perspective of the West’s rigged “democracy” the 24 states that voted in favor count more. But excepting the US and Canada for obvious reasons, the like of St. Kitts and Nevis are no match to the largest nations and economies of the continent. It’s the same logic why Biden’s bragging about a majority of states condemning Russia at the UN General Assembly is delusional: if three fourth of the countries actually voted in favor, among those abstaining there were India, China, Pakistan, Vietnam and other immense world players. Even more evident is the diplomatic defeat over the resolution to remove representatives of the Venezuelan opposition from the OAS: only the US, Canada, Guatemala and Paraguay voted against. The resolution didn’t pass, due to a significant number of abstainers and the requirement of a 2/3 majority, but is still a resounding slap in the US face in its very backyard.
So, while the heralds of the Empire are cheerfully selling us memes and Tik-Tok videos about the terrorist bonfire on the Crimea bridge, we still retain many and big reasons to nod in re-reading Putin’s diagnosis about the emergence of a free, sovereign, multipolar world and the end of Western hegemony being inevitable.
Jo Red is “lucky enough to be born in Italy: studied a lot, knows nothing”