Vladimir Degoyev: the US is playing with matches in our backyard
There is no guarantee that by solving problems in the South Caucasus a world power will be able to further act there. There is also a chance that by solving these problems, a geopolitical center will make things only better for its opponent. Today the situation in the region is extremely complicated and explosive. Under such conditions, it would be a good idea for Russia to make a pause to gain room for maneuver, to avoid dictating its help but rather wait she is asked for help. Russia should avoid burdening itself with obligations – it’s a patient player that may get all the stakes, the director of the Center for Caucasian Studies at the Moscow State University of International Relations, Professor Vladimir Degoyev said in an interview to REGNUM.
Commenting on the developments around Iran, Degoyev said that in this regard, he is concerned with the situation in the South Caucasus. Speculations are made that the US has managed to create some kind of infrastructure in Azerbaijan and Georgia – something that will help it to carry out ‘surgical strikes’ on Iran. If the Americans actually do this, i.e. if they use the South Caucasus in their military campaign against Iran, Russia will have to react in some way. The situation is like somebody is playing with brushwood and matches in our backyard. I am sure that Iran’s response will be tough and adequate, and probably even asymmetrical, said Degoyev.
He also said that by increasing their pressure on Iran, including by means of internal factors, and by simultaneously whipping up tension on Russia’s southern border, the Americans are giving Putin some kind of a signal before the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg. It is no secret that in St. Petersburg Russia is going to make a statement about its dominant role in the global energy security system. Such maneuvers before our fence ahead the St. Petersburg summit may well be specially meant to wreck it or just to accompany it to thereby present Russia as a bad player who puts a good face on things.
So Russia is getting a message that before declaring its hegemony in the global energy politics, it should think if it is insured against similar processes itself, Degoyev said. Today, Russia is being steadily surrounded all along its outskirts: First, 9 states of the so-called democratic arc meet in Vilnius, then the GUAM countries meet in Kiev to extend this arc to as far as the Caspian region. This is a kind of signal to Putin. Of course, this does not mean that GUAM may become some kind of a foothold but this is certainly narrowing Russia’s room for maneuver. Russia is being put in a not very convenient situation and its authorities are being kept on a constant alert, said Degoyev.
In this situation, Russia should be very well balanced in its policy and should be constantly ready to counterargue. I am not sure if we need to react to each statement or each event under this scenario. On the other hand, we should think well if we actually need to stick so tightly to the G8 – to something that is being steadily turned into an instrument for pressuring us and manipulating our policies. Perhaps, we should think about leaving it? They are talking about possible boycott and sanctions, which is nonsense in the 21st century, especially considering the developing relations with China, India, prospects of dialogue with Japan and so on, Degoyev added, noting that in this light, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) may well be regarded an instrument of counteraction.
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