Vladimir Olenchenko: "The US wants people who share their views to head countries
Yesterday President Barack Obama described Russia as a constructive partner on the issue of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict. At the APEC summit the US leader said that if Moscow and Washington were able to develop a common opinion on the government of Bashar al-Assad, it would be the beginning of a great military cooperation between the two countries. A senior researcher at the Center for European Studies (University) of the MFA of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Olenchenko, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the prospects for military cooperation between Moscow and Washington in the military sphere
- After the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit, can we talk about the possibility of the establishment of Russian-American relations, particularly cooperation in the fight against terrorism?
- I noticed that Obama's statements that he makes during foreign trips are different from those which he makes in his country. In the US there is an inter-party struggle, in which the Democrats constantly look back at the Republicans and the Republicans constantly look back at the Democrats. Remember, speaking in Washington, Obama said that the US sanctions have torn the Russian economy to shreds? But abroad he is softer, more flexible, maybe he looks back less at his rivals. This is the first condition that we must consider.
Second, with regard to a constructive approach, the proposals that were made in Antalya by the Russian president have been repeatedly expressed in the past. They lie in the fact that we are in favor of the consolidation of the international forces in the fight against international terrorism. We demand that this struggle is carried out in accordance with the UN Charter to respect the sovereignty of states and international law. In this regard, it is difficult to argue with Obama – Russia's approach is constructive.
The catch lies in the second part of the phrase – about the fate of Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Minister Lavrov repeatedly criticized this idea in Vienna, when it was promoted by the US Secretary of State. According to Lavrov, it turns out that without Bashar Assad it is impossible to fight terrorism. But Assad is not an obstacle to the fight against terrorism. History has shown that such an approach is flawed. As an example, the situation in Libya with Muammar Gaddafi, the situation in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, when the allegations were also heard that these people prevented life, but as soon as they leave their posts the favorable conditions for carrying out a particular policy would immediately appear.
The US is fanatically eager to ensure that heads of state are people who share the US views on international politics and the US presence in the region. Assad does not share this, he stands on the positions of the national perception of the situation. That means that Obama's statement is designed for public perception and does not go beyond the usual US policy in Syria.
The other day I was watching an interview with the King of Jordan on US TV, it is about the same question that was asked. He replied: "I did not appoint Bashar al-Assad, I am not going to dismiss him.’’ Raising the question of the fate of Assad takes away the merits. And the substance of the matter is that the fight against terrorism should be consolidated, in spite of the different points of view on other issues of foreign policy.
- So is it possible to have constructive cooperation between Russia and the United States in the fight against terror?
- The policy of the Western countries pays great attention to the external aspects. Until recently, the US expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Russia has moved to active anti-terroristic operations in Syria. Now, after the negotiations in Antalya, where the statement was made by the G20 about the need to combat terrorism, the United States needs to take some practical steps. For this it is necessary to prepare the US public opinion and its allies to ensure that they can change their position.
Obama's statement is the first step in adjusting the position. Usually they say in a didactic tone: "Russia is working well. We will see what's next. Accordingly, we encourage it." This is about the subtext. This is such a maneuver of American diplomacy, American foreign policy. Do not forget that a few days ago a Pentagon official expressed his displeasure with the fact that the Russian Space Forces are bombing not those objects, and now it turns out that we are bombing the right objects, although the list is of them is the same.
- How long can the United States be supportive of cooperation with Russia?
- Russia before the bombing of the ISIS objects in Syria invited the US to move towards closer cooperation. Russia's first wish was to exchange information on the location of the main structures used by terrorists – the infrastructure of the camp, the location technology. The United States declined. Our second proposal was to coordinate departures of the aviation. The idea is that in the sky there should not be both Russian and American aircraft. Syrian airspace is narrow enough, but for modern aircraft speeds it is difficult [not to intersect]. The Americans avoided this offer as well. Eventually, after a few episodes when planes flew close, it was agreed on mutual informing.
I was struck by the fact that after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Americans have said that France will supply information about the location of infrastructure of terrorists in Syria. That is, it turns out that France, which is considered one of the allies of the United States, did not previously receive such information.
I wish for common sense to prevail and the Americans to move towards closer cooperation on the exchange of objectives, to coordinate in the air, on the coordination of movement. This will enlighten the activities of the Russian Space Forces, and, therefore, complicate the activities of the terrorists and bring down their activities.