Thursday, August 12, 2021

Primakov Doctrine.

Our own Peter Williams posted few days ago this video in which yet another YouTube resource tries to sound geopolitical and, in this particular case, describe what is known today as Primakov Doctrine. 

Feel free to listen to this 24 minute video and it is very good in terms of providing a refresher for a timeline of Russia's intervention in Syria but that is as far as it goes, because, as you all know--the devil is in details. I will not beat around the bush here and will go for the jugular. This is a good video as a primer for anyone who has zero background in geopolitics, warfare, diplomacy, international relations, Russia and Middle East. But for people who have a clue of who read my blog (or my books) periodically the failure of this analysis is several fold:

1. Creators of this video have a very vague idea how the resources of nations are measured and what, in general, those are and what is involved in those resources' applications;

2. They still reside in alternative universe in which the United States enjoys a uni-polar moment, while in reality we all live in a multi-polar world and the multi-polarity is a fait accompli. In fact, it has been since 2008 when Syria wasn't even in the plans;

3. Primakov Doctrine, while formulated by this outstanding man, is in reality just another reiteration of realities of Russia's central Eurasian position (heartland, if one wishes to use purely geopolitical terms) and of a complete rejection of any uni-polarity in principle. 

This by no means takes away anything from Primakov's brilliant mind and it gives me a great pleasure to mention that Primakov entered and studied for a couple of semesters in my naval academy before dropping out, as he himself stated, due to "sea service being not my thing" (in Russian)

But these are just general points. And I also give authors the credit where the credit is due when they talk about chimera of "Gerasimov Doctrine", courtesy of a "great" military mind of Mr. Galeotti, but, as I already mentioned above, they fail at looking at number of key factors defining present situation in which, despite undeniable success in Syria, Russia's existential achievement was Crimea and declaration of Russia's return as a sovereign state on the international arena. The second one was a radical economic and military overhaul, which resulted first in a de facto destruction of the US shale oil industry, decoupling form many Western political and economic institutions, which make Russia's Middle Eastern strategies important, but largely fringe in a colossal struggle with the United States for formation of a new international reality.

As today's events in Afghanistan show, and what was predicted by many, yours truly included, the United States was never a power it claimed to be to start with: it was always much weaker across the board--economically, militarily, ideologically and intellectually. The fact that the United States imposes non-ending sanctions on Russia and Russia's weapons is not a sign of strength but of what I am on record ad nauseam for years--the US lost the arms race. Authors of the video are, evidently, not aware of this reality and if Syria was a good showcasing for some of Russia's weapon systems and strategic-operational prowess, these were recent events in Ukraine, with Russia concentrating two armies in a matter of a week or two at Ukrainian border, which convinced the combined West in Russia's ability to defeat NATO or any other forces in any locality which matters for Russia. That is a hint about multi-polarity, BTW. But authors of the video, sadly, still didn't get it.

Nor Soviet and American experiences in Afghanistan are as closely related as many want to believe, despite irresistible desire to draw parallels. I and others wrote so much on that issue (just read Pepe Escobar's superb sitreps) that it doesn't make sense to repeat in detail but: Russia helped the US in Afghanistan, the United States obstructed USSR there and, incidentally, with the effort of Zbig, fanned the flames of Political Islam. I know, Karma is a bitch. So, what is Primakov Doctrine, really? I can tell you--it is his 180 degrees turn in his airplane over Atlantic on the way to the United States, the moment he learned about the start of barbaric NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. It was this gesture of a real statesman which announced for Russians that enough is enough with the West. It was 180 degree turn which will stay as a historic event in Russia and which in its powerful symbolism declared the new era for Russians--that was an act of a real man and a patriot. You all know what followed. There is still a discussion in Russia today--who saved Russia, Putin or Primakov, but everyone, without exception understand that it was Primakov who said in 2009 at the celebration of his 80th, when proposed the toast:

Хочу предложить выпить за Владимира Путина. Но не потому, что он только что сказал обо мне высокие слова. А потому, что я видел, как этот человек спас Россию. Я всегда буду предан Владимиру Путину. Потому что я предан России.

Translation: I want to propose a toast for Vladimir Putin. But not only because he just now said many high words about me. But because I saw how this man saved Russia, I will always be loyal to Vladimir Putin, because I am devoted to Russia. 

You do remember, of course, that Primakov was a professional intelligence operative and he headed SVR (foreign intelligence service) for 5 years and you know who served in SVR? Yes, many people you see today in Russia's top echelon from Vladimir Putin to other KGB people like Nikolai Patrushev, Sergey Chemezov (counter-intel), Sergei Ivanov (SVR) and others. Primakov's hand helped to guide Russia out of a catastrophe of 1990s and in this sense, Primakov's significance for Russia's and world history exceeds by far the doctrine of his name. Primakov was a Jew who was more Russian than many nominal Russians.

I recall late Lawrence Eagleburger many years ago calling Primakov a "pip squeak". Late Larry was really agitated at CNN (I believe it was CNN) while doing so. Primakov certainly got under his skin. Keep the enemy off balance--the first rule of warfare. Primakov knew how to do it.  In terms of video "rating", I would say--people who only begin to dabble into geopolitics: 7 out of 10 (good primer), for experienced people: 5 out of 10. 

No comments:

Post a Comment