Russian-Turkish agreement is only the first step of Moscow’s plan to return Syria to pre-war borders, told Le Figaro, former French Ambassador to Russia Jean de Gliniasty. According to the expert, thanks to the skillful diplomacy and openness to dialogue is limited in the means the country is becoming an influential player in the political arena.
“What the Russians have achieved the cessation of hostilities (between Kurds and Turks), not the Americans,” said Jean de Gliniasty, former Ambassador of France in Russia and researcher at the Institute of international and strategic relations (IRIS), in an interview with Le Figaro. However, this is a partial victory, only the first military stage. According to the diplomat, there will be a few, and now unfolds the second — political stability in the region. The ultimate goal of Russia is to return Syria to pre-war borders, and the Russian-Turkish patrols and the creation of a buffer zone in the North of the country will not be a long-term solution to the problem.As told the French newspaper de Gliniasty, Russia had made such progress in Syria because that can “speak to all”. So, the Turks she offered a blank border with Syria, the Syrians — almost complete restoration of the territorial integrity of their country, and the Kurds — what kind of security guarantees as part of a unified Syria. As recalled by a former diplomat, at the end of 2015, a few months before Mansijskogo offensive against the “Islamic state” in Russia has already proposed this deal to the Kurds, but then they refused and preferred to trust US, which could limit the first attack from Turkey. Now, after the exit of American troops, Moscow has again offered to negotiate, and those who do not want to engage in dialogue with Damascus, lost.The key to this success, says an expert in an interview, is unchangeable policy of Russia. She makes it clear to the world that Russia is not tied to Bashar Assad, but “because of the failure of Western intervention in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, believes that the best way to fight against terrorism and instability is maximum support existing state structures.” In light of the fact that the government in Syria since ancient times, relies on the Alawite minority, this way of thinking seems a bit conservative and even cynical, “but I must admit that it is based on the analysis, which is not devoid of common sense.”As explained in that regard, Jean de Gliniasty, many Western countries believe in is very popular in the United States the concept, spread by various experts on international relations. According to her, now is the disappearance of States that are unable to cope with the development of supranational organizations and multinational companies, translating universal values. However, this idea is incorrect: many countries in the Middle East are still forming, and Russia defends this vision of the ongoing process, without promoting international values. Even 30 years ago, the UN also spoke on the promotion of the sovereignty of States.However, the diplomat believes, the USA will always remain a stakeholder in the middle East. America accounts for over one third of all global military spending, so she can preach isolationism, but will not completely abandon intervention in the conflict. As far as Europe and France, they completely “lost it” and was originally a mistake in the assessment of the “Arab spring”. “France, it seems, the greatest weakness of the revolution,” said Jean de Gliniasty. The West has lost, the regime of Bashar al-Assad has not fallen for several weeks, and the United States decided to withdraw their troops, because the middle East has gone from being a major problem. And though Europe does not agree with this decision, she has to obey.In an interview with Le Figaro, former French Ambassador to Russia also addressed the topic of Russian-African relations. He recalled that they go back to the Royal era, when the country has close ties with Ethiopia, an ancient Christian Empire, which also did not recognize the authority of Rome. The diplomat recalled the grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, the African servant, which Peter freed and made him his Secretary. During Soviet times, Moscow pursued an ambitious anti-colonial policy to expand the sphere of influence.Starting in 2010, Russia restores the old connection after inactivity in the 1990-ies. Pursuing political goals, Moscow puts at the forefront of economic cooperation. Although trade with Africa ($20 billion) pales in comparison with the trade with China ($200 billion) or France ($50 billion), it should not be written off. If you do not take into account the energy sector, Russian-African exchange up to 90% which allows Russia less dependent on oil supplies.In addition to Economics, Moscow also has a “soft power” thanks to the support of the independence of African republics in the Soviet era and offers a security guarantee that enables the deployment of private military campaigns (for example, a group of Wagner), sending military experts and the supply of cheap or free weapons. Like France at the time, Russia has accumulated a large stock of weapons, which has nowhere to go because of the professionalization of its forces. In addition to Paris, Washington and Moscow can offer all three areas of cooperation, whereas an economically strong China is not a lack of cooperation in the security sphere.Thus, Russia has again become a world power. In 2014 in the Hague, Barack Obama refers to her as a regional power whose influence is waning, however, according to de Gliniasty, “fundamentally wrong” to talk about her isolation. If Europe and the United States the country associated complex relationships, starting from 2010, the years she “developed a real Asian policy,” which is not confined to its special relations with China. Indispensable in the middle East, Russia has always supported dialogue with the countries of Latin America, and now wants to catch up with Africa.As noted in the conclusion of the French diplomat, “we are seeing real diplomatic pilgrimage to Moscow and Sochi,” the heads of state from around the world. The peculiarity of Russia lies in the fact that the world powers have few tools: its GDP is lower than in Italy, and the military budget is less than in France. Influential country has neither the enterprises of small and medium business for export abroad, nor by a large community of expats, no serious financial capabilities, however, stresses Jean de Gliniasty, “compensates for the shortcomings of the great diplomatic mind.”