tv Worlds Apart RT December 27, 2018 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
welcome to worlds apart chumps announcement of the impending pullout of syria has been met in moscow with a tinge of excitement and a bucket of disbelief both of later gave way to the anxious guessing game on how it may shift the regional balance is that yet another reminder of having to be careful what it wishes for well to discuss that i'm now joined by my. associate professor at the most state institute of international relations and the editor of all monitors russian media coverage max it's good to finally see here in our studio
thanks for coming over thanks for having me it's a pleasure now back in september you wrote that the americans are unlikely to withdraw from syria until the end of trump's term. despite all the recent developments do you think you can still be proven right well you know i think i think i was coming from from from the belief that. the u.s. military presence was a factor that enabled the united states to convert its military presence into political leverage over some of the you know syria russia and iran in particular and to a certain degree i think i was accurate and back then it was a reflection of and i think it still is the reflection of this perspective and washington you know the announcements of to pull all forces came came as a surprise to many in washington and the. intentions. still be
realised in a way it's been communicated dot is that the americans would actually leave. part of syria that they will not be let's say substituted by let's say the british forces or that they won't increase special forces capacity on the ground to compensate for the military well i think in a way we still are uncertain about the very most delegates of the military pull out but i believe the two thousand two hundred troops that the pentagon claims that there are there will be pull out sometime within the next one hundred days at the same time you know there are forces that are not on the official record but the special forces operatives military trainers i believe that these. personnel will stay and see you know we're not sure yet because we're getting some conflicting reports on whether the united states will be applying an air force so that's a big factor in the third one i think third uncertainty is the degree of the
support for the kurdish groups on the ground that the u.s. may be willing or may not be willing to render and i think even during the obama administration washington. around two parallel programs one was called for it and another was a very i think there is also a chance of the american military establishment keeping some operation on the ground that even trump may not be fully aware of i mean i would be surprised of the that's going to be the case at the same time i think the decision the president made is a reflection of his long kind of sitting idea of finding trying to find the what i call a formula of a sufficient presence in the middle east where you commit less than you have committed or you have been committing for over you know several decades before the still enjoys some political leverage and this formula is closely associated with sourcing a lot of the things that the united states had been previously doing in the region to local actors to so-called u.s.
allies in the region we'll see how they do now as i'm sure you know in this city a chump's announcement. has. mad. pretty mixed reaction but i think mostly it's been on the positive side do you think that's just the typical russian reflex the lesser demick and present the better or is it actually driven by some geo political calculation of how it may affect russia's standing well indeed i mean it's been it's been an open and publicly stated policy for russia to see that you know the u.s. presence is a legal united states is be in a spoiler and i think ever since the kremlin kind of in a way. gave up on these idea of the big deal over syria the u.s. has been perceived as a as a spoiler for russia a threat for iran and a challenge for turkey and that i think has been kind of moscow's way to argue against this same time i think when you go to kind of middle level expert level
academics level discussion there is a more cautious reaction on what kind of uncertainties these snap decision may trigger and i think. this kind of. the syrian conflict has always been a three level conflict an international regional and local and you know well we may not see that he did spat at the international level now maybe but then the you know there is a lot of chance that the regional dimension will will flare up with more dynamics let me ask you specifically about washington because i think the most typical reaction there has been that trump has once again revealed himself as a russian stooge he's actions are playing directly into the kremlin is hands is that a given because from my perception in moscow people are. excited as i said it's almost every flex to be excited about the american pulling out from somewhere but i don't seem them to be. very much certain about what it really bring well i
think you know the reaction in washington instance certain degree a kneejerk you know to whatever you're doing because the same people who have argued. or criticized for not having a strategy on syria are now bashing him for pulling the troops of syria you know and see that you know this is a trump down the boat i was here i would think so i would think so at the same time i think the decision itself to be components one that has to do with domestics you know in a way for trump to gel with his constituency by trying to deliver on his promises of pulling us out of these conflicts that he sees as bad obama legacy at the same time it is a way to kind of shift the attention from from from the on going investigations into trump's trump organization or the so-called russia pro and the. external level as i argue it's a way to try to find this formula of
a sufficient presence now in your recent article you pointed out that the main from your point of view the main beneficiary of the american pullout proposed american pullout would be the turks both within syria and perhaps even more broadly. within the region and i find it interesting that both you and your all monitor colleague covering turkey use the same phrase in their analysis the one that i quoted in the introduction be careful what you wish for because your desires may actually come true only that you cited in relation to mosconi a call like things though is also a true for ankara is that really desired guys these old grievances finally coming to a moment when they when they could be easily realized well i think to me to make the case even more complicated i would say there are people who are in. in washington in particular who are arguing that iran is a major beneficiary so all of these three so-called us town of guarantors are benefiting from the u.s. pulling out i would say that the united states is never really played
a major constructive role in the political settlement per se and up to the point has been driven by these astounding guarantors so to that degree i don't think there will be a lot of detriment to the political process you know by the u.s. pulling out turkey may. you know a larger presence in the port of syria that it wanted. i think that may actually be problematic for turkey's relations with iran is well everyone is looking into the differences between russia and iran and these disagreements i think the political goals that moscow wants to achieve can be achieved and to a large degree has been achieved by. the you know the russians are doing that are not necessarily associated with the control of terrain land were as turkey and iran as both regional powers you know have to struggle for the control of if you're
a nice important for the syrians because the americans are pulling out from the made from the main resource rich region the incorporation of rich back into the syrian economy would be a major factor in its ability to rebuild the country. do you think. the turks would be looking specifically east of the year freight is how how strategically important is that. territory for them and would they be looking to fill the american void there i mean they might. think this is exactly where a bigger a big challenge for russia may be if the kurds now opt for some kind of a deal with damascus and would turkey will continue their intent to get treated with the perceived as terrorist organizations. i may be faced with a difficult choice of either supporting this new. scheme in damascus kurdish quote unquote axis and antagonize you know relations with on korea or try to be
a mediator there's also a lot of anxiety i think in moscow about this situation situational partnership between russia and our car which is driven i would argue primarily by president putin himself if he has responsibility it's his risk do you think the kind of. turkey had acted on back in two thousand and fifteen when it shut down the russian military jet could manifest themselves again i mean the certainly the scenario of a new stress tests in the in the bilateral relations is not to be excluded here and i think. to a certain degree i argue it's a while ago that putin may indeed be having some second thoughts of whether russia should have done. so much for empowering turkey on the ground well russia was empowering turkey counting that the americans will be there and turkey would be a sort of a counterbalance against the americans but now that the americans are out do you think russia and turkey could make up
a happy couple so to say i mean how comfortable they you know being left one on one the rather than the friend running against somebody else well that's an excellent question and i think the relationship ever since the shutdown of the plane has acquired some new dimensions in the energy field i think there is understanding the to a large degree regionally in security wise syria is more important for turkey than it is for russia is this you know speaking the russian geopolitics turkey is backyard and turks are very cautious and very allergic to any dealings that are seen as controversial their interest i think for now for maybe three to four months the russians have be russians will have been acting very carefully. until the local elections and turkey because this is a time period where the one may be prone to even more you know some. emotional in
and then some risky risky behavior ironically these dates you know in some time i think in the spring march next year coincides with the with the deadline for american troops departure so i think this is an interesting time period for turkey to take some important decisions and possibly you know extract some more benefits both from russia and turkey and the united states i'm sure you would agree with me that the kurdish delegations seen in moscow quite frequently but up until recently russia has been moving there very carefully specifically not to antagonize the turkish authorities but i think. it also cannot afford to throw the kurds completely under the bus. is there any possible configuration that could satisfy the three parties here do you think that the turkish authorities ultimately would object to you the kurds in syria gaining some sort of if not autonomy but
some sort of a deal with the government i do very least it could pacify the region under the guarantees of both russia and its human the syrian government right well let me remind our listeners that in early twenty sixteen russia was the first to propose when it proposed the first draft of the syrian constitution and was the first to propose a the name of the syrian state is changed from the syrian arab republic to syrian republican be. that kind of and compas is. autonomy for kurds in the area so i think russian paula see these are the kurds in the region has to a large degree been to accommodate these big an important factor in the future political or political settlement that certainly does not sit well with the is. as you mention and i think that the current dynamics opens kind of a new dimension for russian thinking on the kurdish issue of how to make it
possible to satisfy both i think the stark contrast between russian position and the in that that of the us russia does not have any formal obligations to either turkey or kurds were asked the united states you know when there was a lot of criticism of the united states of. abandon kurds and betrayed them the think is i think for the us has been a catch twenty two anyway because if you are not abandoning curse then he were betraying your actual treaty ally turkey and i think in that sense russia has a more leeway and more and a more flexible liberates but we'll see how it plays out at one point and max for the time being we have to take a very short break but we'll be back in just a few moments statement. my seven years doing drugs my nephews was still in drugs my system just with doing drugs it was like an epidemic of drug abuse america's public enemy number one
in the united states is drug abuse started going after the users in the prison population who are we started treating sick people people who are addicted to these drugs like criminals while i was on the hill i recently became convinced that the war on drugs was a mistake. with the number of people who are in prison for. long sentences for the minor minor offenders in the drug trade it's a lot watching your children grow up in issue in wave and say by day as you're walking out of the business it's just it doesn't get easier.
welcome back to worlds apart with. the institute of international relations and editor of all monitors russian media coverage now trump is a very prolific tweeter and many of his tweets often ignored but i think in this particular case it's given more attention and more taken with more seriousness because of the resignation of jim mattis his secretary of defense who made it clear that they were very real policy differences between the two this is not the first high profile resignation i mean he fires and hires people of pretty much every month but do you thing it may count with larger consequences than all the other well you know the. resignation was in
a way. forecasts that earlier this year because a lot of people expected him to leave the administration some said following the november midterm elections in the us early next year so i think the talking the differences between defense secretary and the president have grown to a degree where general mattis couldn't of been doing his job the way he wanted to to. i think the person who is now sitting in for madison in term defense secretary. minnow may not necessarily be the person who ultimately and up in this job i think a while ago they can do this c.e.o. cain was you know played around so we'll see how would i would manifest as you mentioned patrick shanahan and i think he is definitely in the what the career general in fact i think his career reminds me at least more of rex tillerson he had
an extensive corporate experience very very limited. exposure do you take that as just. an emotional reaction on the part of trump having to put there somebody is so that he can slam the door shot off to madison do you think that me that me may actually read something into a civilian our corporate executive coming to you have the defense that point i think it also may read into how trump wants to. you know placate to the military by appointing. someone who has worked a lot with defense contractors and you know but i mean if he wanted to play a kid in military he would have treated i mean it is i. mean if there was a friend ejecting there was an interesting article in the washington post that contrast that. tweets about mattis after his employment and after his letter of
resignation and let me say that they did. contracts is very stark i should have. the part of the military that is for you know big defense contracts and this kind but i'm not i'm not true or you know it really is relevant to a larger group to discuss professional qualities of some people in the trumpet ministration now because the major criteria you know define their position in the administration is loyalty and you have a lot of contacts i know in washington do you think has enough people to hire from because i mean he fires people so easily one would wonder why that what should be the incentive for future point is i mean why would you want to serve this administration to reach comes of it major reputational risk ready but i mean the way he disposes of people well sure the looser for he's the for the people wanting to work within this ration is certainly not that long and i think even to make things even more complicated not everyone who would want to work for him can you
know get through congressional hearings and confirmation process so that certainly rather on thoughtful of the president has been has been treatment by you know let me let me pick my words very carefully here by motives very different from those of his predecessors well i think he's been very consistently consistent because his personal style standing even you noted that he's actually pretty determined to live up to his complaint promises and the pulling out of syria was one of them two years into his presidency do you think moscow really understands who they're dealing with can they reach him well well i hope you know but if you talk to some of my colleagues in washington they would say they're exactly the ones who know how to read you know i can see the point of some of my colleagues make a lot of the things that he's doing and internationally. russian interests to the
point of you know for for cutting down on american global presence and things like this i think to a degree it does you know meet the agenda of the moscow has been. often here of americans mentioned but the reason why the russians a displeased the global american presence is not because they want to come and take the american places because they see those wars as extremely destructive so it's not necessarily you gain some unique leverage or advantage for the crime and simply to make the world a little bit more peaceful than it is in a way yeah i think i mean we may trace back these dynamics and argue the tonight tonight is the primary motive was to try to get you know a higher position in the hierarchy that's been shaped in the later after the yugoslavia bombing in iraq invasion and libya blunder it's that the motif has been exactly what you stated i think for now you know some of the decisions trump making
. you know some make make moscow confident you know that the world the less american dominated world is looming on the horizon at the same time i think through the crisis and we can we can certainly observe here the crisis in u.s. russia relations this is exacerbated to dramatic extremes under tromp and you see you get now the congress or democratically dominated congress and then there in a straight and the way rival ring for sanction the russian war in order you know for the administration to look like russia's and stolen and and yet despite this crisis what is striking to me is that present putin continues treating present with what i would call keep gloves i mean he never misses a chance to stress that there are some issues that he agrees with him on the latest example of would be a chump's assertion that it was the united states that exterminated isis. in syria
which is clearly not the only country that was present there and i think russians in particular would be usually predisposed to extolled our own role but this is not what putin did why do you think there is such a funny way of. talking to or about with president trump is there is still some believe in the kremlin that something fruitful may come out from the corporation between the two administrations or is it simply you know trying to manage a cycle that the you believe can lash out and make even more down and well it can be either of this war you know that putin is is trying to try to drive in ever bigger wedge in this perception that you know trump is a quote unquote pro russian president and then the establishment is this is not is not russia's friend too i think there has been a moment in the first year of the trumpet ministration that
a lot of people in moscow hoped or you know for a modest progress in the u.s. russia relations that was not necessarily associated with the lifting of sanctions or something like this i think syria back then was seen as a place where some compromise could have been you know reached now that's that's that's no longer the case and it's clear the more you know the president's meet with one another the more it backfires on the relationship so i would think that it's easier for for moscow now to you know put some brakes on the in the dealings with with with trump and not or lower profile of these quote unquote. interference or engagement in u.s. politics because ultimately russia is now no longer a foreign policy issue for the u.s. it's a domestic issue. you mentioned as one possible motive driving a wedge between trump and his opponents the so-called policy establishment on
the blog. and. you know sometimes it's hard to say who is more emotionally unstable whether it's trump or his critics but i think what's clear is that even after even when trump is gone russia will have to build some sort of contacts with the so-called establishment them in. a matter of necessity do you think it makes any sense to try to. reach out to the people who. still run away with the russia gate story over would be counterproductive at this point i think it certainly makes sense for for moscow to think posts trump in its context with the united states i just fear that the dominant view in this city is that it is nearly impossible until the united states kind of settle this domestic divide our domestic crisis you know put their own house in order first because otherwise reaching out to certain groups may be either contra productive for simply no
backfire even more you know things like this do happen you need to understand that the environment in d.c. is you know i hate to say these buzzwords talks it but that's exactly what it is and then i think it's in a way you know you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't now powers transition is an issue for russia as well and i'm sure you would agree that many in moscow it is believed that it was what you called the libya blunder that motivated putin to come back to the presidency and in hindsight i think two thousand and eleven as. turbulent as it was it still seems like i walk in the park today. do you think geopolitics and where we are in the big game will play just as big overall in two thousand and twenty four as it played in two thousand and twelve in twenty four well yeah i think it will because you know we see
geopolitics and i would are also argue trade worse is these are the two things that spin. you know developing to some on precedence of scales very very hard to predict we know you know some of the major economies in the u.s. in the e.u. in japan may be facing some slowdown and twenty nineteen it definitely will backfire on russia and. we are not sure how the powers that are faced with this challenges will act on their foreign policy fronts and geopolitical doesn't mean that you believe that putin who believed back in two thousand and eleven that he has to come back to power because the situation is the danger is and he needs to try to navigate russia through those turbulent waters do you think he will have to make that decision again in two thousand and twenty four i mean. this is a very difficult policy conundrum i'm sure for the well it is. i'm not
sure how he personally feels about you know whether he's prepared to transition power to someone else or he's the one who says will it be a wise idea to do that probably he doesn't think so. but i mean. to me it looks like there is no one. on the horizon you know well it's essentially what he's doing if he doesn't. he's doing if he doesn't write well max it's always good to catch up for the euro i thank you very much for coming over and let's hope that the next year of brings bit more joy than soroti all of us well thanks thanks for having me i'm afraid there is no way you know it or to any. success here everyone will have to take the stairs from all of us in the studio a happy new year it's our viewers around the globe thank you for watching and hope to syria again same place same time here on the world's apart.
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the ne'er do wells it's all very well that's over we got to go back to basics. co-founder of social media john linked in the public judges for funding a pro-democratic operation that created more than a thousand fake russian language twitter accounts designed to do what they've packed a republican rival. washington expresses concern over russia's new hypersonic weapon saying that there are no effective counter measures demagogue missiles final test was successfully carried out wednesday. as french to a two decade long probe into the deadly attack on the former two hundred president's plane a case that's long been a thorn in relations.