Geneva III: Deflating the WW III Bubble – Part 3

Russian intervention in Syria maybe the biggest shift of power since Suez.

Geneva III: Are Russia & US back to their old game of skirmishes?
Geneva III: Are Russia & US back to their old game of skirmishes?

Geneva III: Russian intervention in Syria maybe the biggest shift of power since Suez

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]hen the Juncker-Stoltenberg statements showed that the Ukrainian crisis had been diffused and that there would be no major war, the two major military powers felt that they could fight minor adversaries: Russia went to Syria, while the US declared that it was ready to nuke the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea.)14     Geneva III, which is taking place at the time of writing, is intended to end the Syrian crisis.

Putin’s five-month intervention15 in Syria was so successful that he earned an Arabic name, Abu Ali Putin.  Assad, who had lost control of most of Syria, regained his prestige by re-gaining 10,000 square kilometers of occupied territory: Latakia, Aleppo, Palmyra and its surrounding oil fields.16   About 2,000 anti-Assad forces were killed.  Since Moscow felt that the issue in Syria was a civil war, between Assad-supporters and a legitimate armed opposition, the Free Syrian Army, diplomacy was needed, hence the Geneva talks. The Free Syrian Army has an office in Moscow for this purpose.  Moscow left a residual force of between 3000 and 6000 in Syria in case the opposition resurrects its activities.17     Many commentators would support John R. Bradley who concluded that “this is the biggest shift of power since Suez.”18     A Syrian resident felt that he was in a small third world war and that the solution was not an easy one.19    However, a strong case could be made for Obama keeping out America from this debilitating war.  American power did not relatively decline; it did support groups that favoured the ousting of Assad, but was against boots on the ground.  For taking this view, his opponents who supported World War III tried to humiliate him by shunning him and approaching Congress. Obama already has an Islamic name and does not need another.  Ironically, it was a Christian American president with an Islamic name that was trying to put an end to eternal wars.

In the case of North Korea, both sides had plans to shorten a war by decapitating the leader:  North Korea tried to knock of President Park Chung Lee at his residence in 1968.  The US’s plan is called OPLAN 5015 (O stands for Operation.)20   The details of killing Kim Jong-un are still a secret.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he American and South Korean naval exercises are interpreted by Kim Jong-un as a sign to invade North Korea. The latest exercises in March and April, 2016 are the largest ever, with 300,000 American and 17,000 South Korean troops.  These exercises are a response to North Korea testing missiles fired into the Yellow Sea, in defiance of UN sanctions.21    North Korea also claimed that it tested a hydrogen bomb.  The Russian warning to Kim is that verbal threats are against international law. Outwardly, China objects to North Korea’s threats but it silently supplies its neighbour with its basic needs. North Korea sees these naval exercises as “US hostility.”

While the intention of Geneva III is to establish peace, the Korean escalation seems to be heading towards war or peace.  If war, it would be a bad way to start a “Pivot to Asia.”  A war with Korea or China over the South China Sea, would not augur well for Asia.

Since Vice President of Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems Vladimir Anokhin22    said that WW III stories are “bogeymen stories,” it appears that some still question whether there was a move to start this war.  To refute it, one has to explain why Russia just did not raise its budget but gave orders to prepare for this war by placing nuclear missiles at strategic positions.  The US followed Russia in improving its military arsenal.  Israel is perpetually on a war footing with its neighbors and it wants the US to raise its aid by 50%, from $30 billion per year to $42-45 billion a year for the 2018-28 period.  The reason given is that it has to defend itself against the Iranian missile program.  This aid package is separate from the $1.2 billion materiel the US stores in Israel, and which is available for Israel’s use, and $500 million per year for developing its own anti-missile program.23

Bibliography

  1. “NATO Secretary General discusses key defense reforms with Ukraine Minister of Defense,” nato.int, March 8, 2016. See also, “Juncker says Ukraine not likely to join EU, NATO for 20-25 years,” rferl.org, March 4, 2016.

  2. Paul Saunders, “How Russia sees Ukraine crisis,” nationalinterest.org, October 13, 2014.

  3. Wikipedia.org.

  4. Mathew Dal Santo, “Russia and Ukraine’s Medieval Love Affair,”nationalinterest.org, March 11, 2015.

  5. “Ukrainians will die and shed blood to be in the same deep water with Europe,” pravda.ru, March 1, 2016.

  6. Ron Synovitz, “Explainer: The Budapest Memorandum and its relevance to Crimea,” rferl.org, February 28, 2014.

  7. “Top Ukrainian security official criticizes Budapest Memorandum,” usatoday.com, December 5, 2015.

  8. Lisa Karpova, (translated from Portuguese) “Wikileaks reveals NATO attack plan against Russia,” pravdareport.ru, December 23, 2010.

  9. Luis Ramirez, “Ukraine: hard Choices in a forgotten war,” voanews.com, March 7, 2016.

  10. Roland Oliphant, “Ukraine crisis: death by fire in Odessa as country suffers bloodiest day since revolution,” telegraph.co.uk, March 11, 2016.

  11. “As Commander-in-Chief Pororshenko hates to be at war with Russia,” pravdareport.com, March 11, 2016.

  12. Michael Schearf, “Ukraine’s Poroshenko: Restoration of Sovereignty Top Priority for 2016.” voanews.com, January 14, 2016.

  13. “Ukrainian officers desert, steal, and go to Crimea,” pravdareport.com, March 11, 2016.

  14. “US ready to nuke North Korea,” pravdareport.com, March 3, 2016.

  15. “Russian warplanes start leaving Syria on Putin’s orders,” rt.com, March 15, 2016.

  16. “Future of Bashar al Assad remains ‘red line’ as peace talks begin,” the guardian.co.uk, March 14, 2016.

  17. Julian Robinson, “Well that did not last long: Russia pounds jihadis with airstrikes just hours after Putin ordered military withdrawal from Syria and vowing to act as a peacemaker,” dailymail.co.uk, March 15, 2016.

  18. John R. Bradley, “As a craven west caves in to Putin, this could be the biggest shift of power since Suez,” dailymail.co.uk, March 16, 2016; see also Johnathan Steele, “Putin’s high stakes gambit in Syria has paid-off for Moscow,” the guardian.com, March 15, 2016; also, Paul Craig Roberts, “Russia’s military aims achieved, Putin switches to diplomacy,” pravdareport.com, March 15, 2016.

  19. Loveday Morris, “In Damascus, Syrians celebrate Vladimir Putin as their hero. Will they miss him?” smh.com.au, March 17, 2016.

  20. Eric Talmadge, “Are U.S. and South Korea really planning to assassinate Kim Jong-un? theindependent.com, March 8, 2016; also timesofindia.indiatimes.com, March 8, 2016.

  21. Foster Klug, “North Korea Again threatens Nuke strike on US, South Korea,” AP, March 7, 2016.

  22. Anokhin, “WWIII: Who starts?” pravdareport.com, March 9, 2016.

  23. JTA, “Israel asking US for 50% increase in next defense package,” timesofisrael.com, May 26, 2015.

Henry D'Souza is a prolific author who has written over 60 papers and 4 books, of which 2 books, 1 booklet and 28 papers were published. He is a distinguished sportsman, having represented Kenya in Field Hockey and also played tennis for the country.

Henry currently resides in Canada.

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