SAUDI ARABIA. The visit of Salman bin Abdulaziz was pretty significant I think. The deal on the petrodollar was that Riyadh would insist on USD for payment in return for protection. Because Washington's wars in the MENA have only made Iran stronger, Riyadh cannot think the deal is working out and it may be looking for a new sponsor: it happened before when Abdulaziz switched from London to Washington. My thoughts here. I believe that the sale of S-400 air defence systems could be a geopolitical gamechanger. Another of Moscow's strengths is that it talks to everybody: and so it has offered to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran. Because Washington takes sides, it is useless should Riyadh want to negotiate its way out of messes with its neighbours. "The success of the Euro-Asian triptych is based on the essential principle of transforming enemies into neutral players, neutral players into allies, and further improving relations with allied nations." Slowly, patiently, bit by bit the long game is played.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The world has entered an era of rapid change. Things that were only recently referred to as fantastic or unattainable have become a reality and have become part of our daily lives." I don't think Putin's referring to the latest computer game, do you? History didn't end, after all.
RUSSIA INC. I expand on something I wrote some time ago. Russia is a "full-service" economy. One of four on the planet. It and China are going up; the USA and the EU are going down.
CW. It was announced that the last of Russia's chemical weapons inherited from the USSR have been destroyed. The USA, not completed its own program, is now aiming for 2023. Neither country hit the first deadline of 2007, nor the second of 2012. The NYT does its best to blame Russia for finishing early.
PUTINVILLE. Moscow has been named the fourth safest megacity for women and St Petersburg the best tourist destination in Europe. I don't put a lot of stock in these ratings but they are useful counters to the Russia as hellhole nonsense that clogs the Western MSM.
WESTERN VALUES™. This should be good for a laugh: Petr Pavlenskiy has been arrested for setting a fire at the Bank of France. Paris granted him asylum after he was fined for setting a fire at the FSB headquarters in Moscow. Does "protest art" in Russia become arson in France?
GETTING SCARED. Russia used to be feeble and falling apart and the danger was that some crazy general would get hold of "loose nukes" and do something bad. Now the Russia-as-enemy campaign is starting to frighten the people who created it. Some of the alarm is feigned as part of the campaign for more money but I think they're really starting to understand that they have woken a sleeping giant and filled him with resolve (as Admiral Yamamoto is said to have said). And they fear that the US military, after a couple of decades of fighting people who can only fight back with car bombs and suicide belts, isn't ready for Prime Time. Some US military connected outfit has put out a how to fight Russia manual (rather amusingly based on the assumption that Kiev forces were fighting the Russian Armed Forces in Donbass – won't they be surprised if they were to meet the real thing!). Meanwhile the Heritage Foundation laments that "Our military has undoubtedly grown weaker". This shouldn't be unexpected, Washington assumed too much and pushed too much. But, still, nothing much has been learned: Kiev wasn't fighting the Russian Armed Forces and Heritage's idea that Congress should "pass a budget that will truly provide for the common defense" is laughable. The problem isn't money. But here we are: another step towards the new new world order.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Latest top hits from the three principal fake news outlets: "Catalonia held a referendum. Russia won" from the WaPo; Pokemon from CNN; cute puppies from the NYT. Meanwhile Senator Burr admits that, after months of hearings, "I’m not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven’t any” and the real Russian scandal emerges from the shadows. (But, Dear Readers, before the usual drivel about corrupt and corrupting Russians starts up, if your government is for sale, can you blame people for buying it?)
UKRAINE. Another coup in the making? Demonstrations kicked off by a torchlight parade. Demands (at the moment) are a new election law for parliamentarians, an anti-corruption court, ending parliamentary immunity. Signed by Tymoshenko and Saakashvili among many others including some of the nazi battalions. Perhaps not coincidentally, an investigation into fraud committed by President Poroshenko has been opened. Did the coal from Pennsylvania actually come from Russia? Nuclear fears. Another huge ammunition dump fire. The collapse continues.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer