IS Russian-US Brinkmanship Mere Bluster Whilst Britain Stokes the Fire?

On the 13th of January Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, escalated the brinkmanship with the US over Ukraine, after the Americans had refused to entertain Russia’s red line request for NATO to pull back from the ex-Soviet space and permanently bloc Ukraine’s entry to NATO. Ryabkov stated that he could ‘neither confirm nor exclude’, the possibility of Russian retaliation by positioning military assets in America’s backyard i.e., in Venezuela and Cuba.

This is after suggestions in the US media that Biden was prepared to help Ukraine mount an insurgency if Russia invades, and the possibility of fast-tracking more countries into the NATO orbit such as Sweden and Finland. All whilst as per usual Britain has been stoking the fire through false solidarity with the American’s, with the possibility of pushing both the Russia and America to the brink and even conflict, with the aim of sucking them into a quagmire.

This notion of ‘a special relationship’ with the US is a false notion perpetuated by Britain aimed to show open solidarity through one hand whilst stabbing her in the back with the other to damage her international standing and those of other powers. She has applied this consistently from World War 2, through constructing a policy of band wagoning on the back of America, as a means of ensuring global access, prestige, and relevance, having been reduced to a nominal power after the war.

Through heightening tensions between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and exhausting both financially and militarily in the process, Britain aimed to push both the US and the Soviets towards a hot war. War being the optimum means through which the international structure could be affected to her own advantage.

It was only during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the meeting between Kruschev and Kennedy that both realised Britain’s destructive role. In addition to the Cold war, Britain made advantage of US weakness in Vietnam, and in the post-Cold war period, pushed America into Iraq and Afghanistan, with token forces attached for global effect.

Consequently, it is of no surprise that in the current scenario, immediately after the Americans threatening an insurgency against Russia if it invades Ukraine, Britain announced on the 17th of January, that it would be sending in military advisors and anti-tank weapons to help the Ukrainians fight an insurgency.

With regards to the Russian threat on Central America, this has no reality. Something which Russia learnt during the Cuban Missile crisis. Kruschev was attacked in the Soviet parliament for a strategic blunder, since logistically, the Soviets had no ability to defend any military presence in America’s backyard. It was only because of Kennedy’s clever back-channel diplomacy and the blockade of Soviet ships which enabled Kruschev a face-saving way out of the missile crisis.

Moreover, both Cuba and Venezuela, despite the overt anti-Americanism, exist securely within the American orbit. The regimes are no longer propelled or under internal or external pressure built up during the Cold war period. Communism collapsed comprehensively. Hence, the threat by Russia is a red herring.

Similarly, US threats of ‘severe’ consequences for Russia upon invading Ukraine such as sanctions and cutting her off from the trading payment platform SWIFT has no teeth since most of Russian trade is now conducted through the Russian rouble and not the dollar. Also, learning from American and European threats since the Crimean annexation, that Russia would harm herself if she cut off from the lucrative European gas market, Russia quickly diversified energy resources towards China i.e once the Nord Stream pipeline project with Germany (which by-passes Ukraine) had also been threatened, and with full knowledge that Germany would not damage her own energy security. Hence, the threat by the Americans is also a red herring.

The Russians can also rely upon the divisions amongst the Europeans. Whether it is Germany over energy security or France with respect to her goal of building a European (EU) security architecture free from the US umbrella and firmly under European control and preferably under French leadership. This EU collective security architecture should chart its own course. Addressing the European Parliament on the 19th of January when France took over the EU’s rotating 6-month presidency, Macron declared, “Europe needs to finally build its own collective security framework on our continent,” he told lawmakers in Strasbourg in eastern France, “Security on our continent requires strategic rearmament,” adding that “frank and demanding” talks with Russia were also required. A scenario which Britain will not entertain due to her international survival built on the back of the Americans and the unwillingness to give any leadership role to the Europeans and the French in particular.

The Americans have already witnessed European fractiousness and impotency when Russia annexed Crimea. Hence, it is stuck with the UK as the only overtly favourable European power, but at its peril.

So, the question is whether both the Russians and American’s have realised Britain’s role in fomenting a new ‘Cold War’ and have already negotiated between themselves and camouflaged it with rhetoric and brinkmanship or, is Russia merely buying time to build up forces and take the strategic and political risk to invade, gifting the US an opportunity to engulf Russia in a quagmire, Europe in need to American leadership and Britain the opportunity to pull the US into another exhaustive encounter.

Copyright © LCIR 2022

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