Why Obama Will Soon Make a Very Bold Move
Over the past year, I have written about the political moves around the world that have been made – and continue to be made – to thwart America’s stranglehold on the world and its financial system.
In a world ruled by media, he who takes action wins the media; with it, political control.
While US President Barrack Obama schedules his next round of golf (he’s played 143 rounds since he became President), Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to make advances.
A few weeks ago, Obama blamed Assad for the chemical weapons usage in Syria and threatened military force on the nation, despite having little proof that Assad was actually responsible for the attack.
Assad continues to deny the attacks, saying the attacks were a result of rebel forces.
Russia has promised to back the Assad regime, while the U.S. and its energy allies want Assad out. Both countries want control of Syria for its own energy-related goals.
I talked about the control for energy in last week’s letter, “The Real Reason for War in Syria: Pipeline Control.”
But the civil war in Syria has now escalated into full on political battle between Russia and America, or rather Putin vs. Obama.
And Obama is losing. Badly.
Putin Wins Support of International Community
In a shocking turn of events, Putin has not only taken control of the chemical weapons affair in Syria by striking a deal with Assad to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control “for subsequent destruction,” but has now driven the support of the international community.
Including the support of both Iran and China.
Earlier this week, Putin was at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security group sometimes seen as an eastern counterweight to NATO, where the leaders, whose members include Russia, China and several Central Asian states, said in unison that they supported the Russian-proposed initiative and opposed any actions that could lead to a “further militarization” of the situation in Syria.
Not only has Putin strategically placed Obama as a military aggressor and potential supporter of Al Qaeda terrorists on the world stage, but has convincingly taken the role of international peacemaker.
Putin’s act and political progress has been so smooth that he is even winning the hearts of many Americans, including Kathleen Troia McFarlane, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs for Reagan from 1982 to 1985.
Via Fox News:
“In one of the most deft diplomatic maneuvers of all time, Russia’s President Putin has saved the world from near-certain disaster. He did so without the egoistical but incompetent American president, or his earnest but clueless Secretary of State, even realizing they had been offered a way out of the mess they’d created.
… The fact is Obama seemed headed for an attack on Syria that no one wanted and few thought would succeed. Most thought it would only end in disaster, either with the U.S. drawn into an attack/retaliation cycle of escalation that could go on for years and spread into a regional war, or result in the overthrow of President Assad by an Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.
While the Russians may have toyed with the idea of letting American get bogged down in yet another losing Middle East war, they didn’t want to risk a war that might pull them in, or lose control of the Assad government to radical Sunni jihadists.
So Putin stepped in and threw Obama a lifeline.
For a few hours it seemed Obama might not grab at it. But he has, and will no doubt claim full credit for it being his idea all along.
The Washington press corps will no doubt believe him, as usual, and lavish their usual praise.
But the world knows that Vladimir Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize.
It turns out that leading from behind left a big opening up front. Putin stepped right in. And Obama still hasn’t figured it out.”
Speaking on Russian TV, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has – perhaps unsurprisingly – proclaimed that his decision to place Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under international control was the result of Russia’s proposal…and not US military threats.
Via Russia Today:
“Syria is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision because of Russia, the US threats did not influence the decision.” – Assad
Mcfarlane wasn’t the only one who put Putin over Obama.
A Plea for Caution From Russia
What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria
RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization – the United Nations – was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.
The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.
Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.
From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack – this time against Israel – cannot be ignored.
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.
We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.
A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action .
I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.
If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
– Vladimir V. Putin, President of Russia.
Putin is no longer being tied to a Cold War mentality, as Obama has repeated many times recently, but is now being seen as the destroyer of chemical weapons. He has put himself on the global stage as one who believes in equal rights, as “God created us equal.”
A serious blow to Obama, especially considering Putin used the same equal rights tactic to grant Edward Snowden asylum.
But Putin hasn’t stopped to play golf or basketball in the wake of his Noble Peace Prize stardom.
He is continuing to put Obama under the bus, while remaining strong and noble to the international community.
Russia in Strategic Talks with Iran
Back in 2010, America and Israel forced Russia’s then-President Dimitry Medvedev to cancel a Russian-Iran arms deal following heavy diplomatic pressure.
However, recent reports show that Putin may be offering missile systems by renewing the deal that was stopped in 2010 by the United Nations.
The offer was reportedly to be put to President Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian premier, when the two met for the first time on Friday at the SCO.
If it goes ahead Iran may be supplied with five advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles, capable of taking down aircraft or guided missiles, valued at $800million (£500million).
Lawmakers have already urged Secretary of State John Kerry to “send Russia a clear message” that the United States will not tolerate Moscow’s arming of the Iranian regime.
However, that’s not stopping Putin’s plans as he accepted Rouhani’s invite to Tehran, Iran’s capital city, to continue their discussions. Only this time, it will likely be behind closed doors and not in front of the world stage, as it was at the SCO.
But that’s not all.
Putin continues to defy Obama.
Putin Encourages Iran Nuclear Interest
According to Tehran Times, Rouhani is in deep discussions’ with Russia to bring back nuclear energy and enrichment to its country – despite strong push-back from America.
“Iranian President Hassan Rohani praises Russia for taking important steps in the past to resolve the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West and says, “Today a better opportunity has been created to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through cooperation and exchange of views.”
Furthermore, it has been revealed by a Kremlin source to Russia’s Kommersant newspaper that the deal would include Russia building a second reactor at Iran’s only nuclear plant in Bushehr.
The original reactor and Iran’s nuclear interests have long been thought of as a disguise for the creation of nuclear weapons.
However, Iran denies any interest in nuclear weapons, insisting that both uranium enrichment and nuclear reactors are meant for peaceful purposes, such as production of energy and medical and scientific research.
Putin supports their theory and has told the world during the SCO summit, “that Iran, the same as any other state, has the right to peaceful use of atomic energy, including enrichment operations.
Both the new proposal and the potential arms deal with Iran means that Russia not only wants to supply Iran with uranium – likely at a cheaper cost to Iran than the U.S. – but wants to maintain control of any Iran-related gas negotiations.
This would undoubtedly include the proposed $10 billion pipeline (mentioned in my last letter, The Real Reason for War in Syria) that may go through Iran, Iraq and Syria, bypassing the initiatives of American energy allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia altogether.
The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline was a deal clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field, that would go through Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon, and onto Turkey.
If this pipeline is built, it would take away much of Russia’s current European profits. That’s why Russia wants to maintain control by striking deals with both Iran and Syria; supplying arms and political backing often results in very strong favours.
No Free Lunch
There’s no such thing as free political help. America has stepped into many situations before: It has helped many countries that suffered disasters and helped many countries solve their internal civil conflicts.
But all of this “help” comes at a price. What is never talked about are the trade agreements and political control that America wants in return.
Russia is no different.
Russia wants control of the energy flowing into Europe. In order to maintain this control, it needs to have control of the pipeline routes and gas producers in the Persian Gulf.
It won’t win the support of Qatar, an American ally and the largest supplier of liquid natural gas (LNG) in the world, so it needs the support of Iran, who not only has terrible relations with America, but has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world, second only to Russia.
The Russians diplomatic offensive emphasizes to both the Arabs in the Persian Gulf opposing Bashar al Assad and the Iranians supporting him that a solution is only available through them.
However, the plan only works if America backs down its military. But if it does work, there will be a major shift in power in the Persian Gulf.
If Putin can control Iran and Syria, he will not only secure the future of Russian’s energy exports to Europe, but will deal an incredible political blow to Washington.
So how can the U.S. overcome this?
Politically, Obama has been put in a really tough spot.
Obama knows that Russia’s current position holds no real weight because America’s military and allies are simply too strong.
However, the limit on American military action is purely domestic politics.
If the United States wants to hit Syria, there’s nothing Russia can do.
However, if Obama decides to use military force, he will be recognized as a warmonger and a bully across the world, while Putin will be recognized as a Noble Prize-deserving, chemical weapons destroyer.
For now, that means Obama has no choice but to try and win this battle politically; a battle he is currently losing.
I suspect that Obama will have to do something drastic and act soon to retake the position in the Persian Gulf.
No one is sure who really led the chemical attack in Syria but using that angle for a military strike has only given Putin more political points.
(The chemical weapons situation is eerily reminiscent of a movie I watched many years back called, “The Sum of All Fears.“)
The ball is now in Obama’s court to do something.
Perhaps he will lead a campaign against Russia and Iran that somehow proves Iran is creating nuclear weapons.
Perhaps he will lead a campaign that Assad is breaking the international laws of war, such as killing civilians or blaming another chemical attack on him.
Perhaps the rebels, funded by Qatar and the Arabs, see that Obama is losing and launches another chemical assault to give Obama ammunition to strike.
If you think the Syria conflict is over simply because of Russia’s recent proposal for the removal of chemical weapons, think again.
Energy, Market Outlook, and Investments
I write about the situation in Syria not only because of my interest in world politics, but also to show how all of this can affect our investment decisions.
The markets may breathe a temporary sigh of relief and move up next week, but the real battle is just beginning.
While Fukushima continues to plague the uranium market, the inevitable consequence of HEU’s end and the continued battle between Russia and the U.S. will be higher uranium prices.
I strongly believe this.
While I doubt Russia will flex its energy power by raising prices in Europe or cutting gas supplies to European nations, it does have the power to do that.
However, I don’t see this as a likely near-term scenario, as Putin has strategically swapped places with Obama; switching from bully and aggressor to lawful peacemaker while simultaneously making a mockery of Obama by giving Snowden asylum and Iran a chance at a new nuclear program.
Obama, it’s time to stop being cool and start being President.
The Equedia Letter