In the past few months, Russia is deliberately making calculated moves to supersede Western influence in the matters concerning world community. For instance, Syrian crisis, support for Iran despite US sanctions, defense cooperation with Egypt to mention a few.
In all of the above instances, one thing is common, that they all are Middle Eastern countries who are criticizing western powers in hush voices. US and allies have been dominating the region from a very long time since the disintegration of USSR in 1991. The western influence has more or less been effective in combating the rise of Middle Eastern influence in the world by invoking measures like economical, political and military sanctions, military strikes, invoking civil wars through secretly supporting the rebels to allow for a coup and overthrowing most of the dictators in the region with the help of their respective intelligence agencies. All this has been possible with the consistent support of Israel and Saudi Arabia, the dominant players having a strong political and economical hold in the region. The geographical location of the Middle Eastern region has also been supportive for the Western alliances to pursue their respective goals as it is surrounded by Europe. In-fighting and lack of unity among the region’s countries has been contributing towards their exploitation since the beginning of Western dominance.
Since the peak of Syrian crisis in August 2013 when the chemical weapons attack in Damascus by Bashar Al Assad’s regime invited worldwide criticism, Russia has been strongly supporting and combating threats on Syrian security by making all out efforts to persuade UN Security Council that there is no immediate need to militarily strike Syrian soil without having adequate evidence against Assad’s regime. Russia gathered support of various peace mongering nations to persuade Western alliances diplomatically to give up the idea of strikes and thereby, despite of Israel and Saudi Arabia’s push for strikes, US President suspended the idea of striking Syria. Largely the idea to oppose strike grew within the Western nations, especially in the US when the citizens of US opposed the idea of starting a new war and behaving like a ‘World Policeman’. Whatever the reason may be, but Russia succeeded in its intention to protect its ally (Syria) from the Western influence. By convincing US to suspend the idea of strikes, Russia also hit the ‘bull’s eye’ by disturbing the long time good relations between US and Saudi Arabia which came out open in the recent rejection of a temporary seat of the UN Security Council by Saudi Arabia.
Russia didn’t take rest after the handling of Syrian crisis, but it also went further in helping Iran militarily and negotiating a defense cooperation deal with the nation. Russia decided to sell an improved version of S-300 air defense missiles and strategic help in building a nuclear reactor at Bushehr. Russia also agreed to supply five batteries of S-300VM long range air defense system, also known as Antei-2500 which is more effective in intercepting missiles. It was a clear message to the United States that Russia will not adhere to US sanctions if their economic and political interests lie in a deal with any nation, irrespective of the relations of US with that nation. Russia has also been optimistically supporting Iran in the ongoing talks between P5+Germany and Iran in withdrawing sanctions by striking a deal with Iran. Although, it has not yielded the result yet but both sides have indicated a positive breakthrough in the ongoing talks in Geneva.
Russia recently moved a hand of friendship to Egypt which is striving hard to tackle the civil unrest lying because of the rebellion against Morsy. Russia took advantage of the rift between Cairo and Washington as the United States had withheld military supplies to Cairo, following Morsy’s ouster. Russian warship, VARYAG, the flagship of the Pacific fleet, docked in the port city of Alexandria symbolizes Moscow’s deepening interest in the Mediterranean Sea. Russia’s permanent presence at the port of ‘Tartus’ in Syria has already underscored its intention to implant strategic footprints in the region. Both Russia and Egypt are looking for a military tie-up soon to revive the defense cooperation when USSR had a presence in the region.
The worst blow to the United States was the approval of temporary asylum request by Russia of the NSA whistleblower Mr. Edward Snowden that shocked the whole world over the surveillance programmes creating differences between the western alliance itself. For the first time, Germany, rather the whole European Union criticized and summoned US diplomats over the issue of bugging the EU leaders. It was a clear sign that a hole was created in the relations between US and EU, indirectly by Russia as it was supporting Snowden revelations from the backdoor.
The question arises – Are we really marching in the cold war era of 1960-70s when the influence of USSR was undeniable? The present Russia is expanding its arms either by undermining ‘Western authority’ in the Middle East or by inciting disturbances between the US and EU itself. Whatever the intentions may be, but we surely do understand that Russia cannot compete economically in the present form although its economic growth is in full swing but it still relies on hydrocarbon and mineral sale which do not yield the desired results as per the renowned world economists. The present era is of economical superpowers, and the days of military domination has gone in the wind. World population wants peace with economical independence and the war mongering motives of the ‘wannabe superpowers’ may not succeed due to this concept.