How Western media’s current narrative that “Putin has come in from the cold” will change to “Putin’s Gambit Has Failed” once sanctions are inevitably extended come March 2016, while in reality Russia expects sanctions for the long haul no matter what happens in Syria.
November 20, 2015
The G-20 summit in Turkey that concluded recently was dominated by the fast moving events following the ISIS attacks in Paris which required Western governments to momentarily put aside their monomania about regime change in Syria and look to work with the Russians on a common strategy to contain and ultimately eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Putin, as he has said on more than one occasion – recently in the Charlie Rose interview – does not bother about what Western leaders and media publicly say. Russia has its own strategy and interests that it is following. Putin and the rest of the Russian leadership are too shrewd and experienced to think that this recent tactical thaw means that the USG (with pressure on its satrapies in the EU) has given up trying to squeeze Russia into bending to its foreign policy goals.
In particular, Putin would be under no illusions that sanctions against Russia would be lifted any time soon no matter what happens in Syria, and that the anti-Russia agitprop will stop. Indeed the Russians have prepared to settle in for the long haul. (Especially given the fact that the next President of the United States, whoever she is, will be much more hawkish than her predecessor).
Indeed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said as much as recently as in August 2015.
When sanctions are inevitably extended come March; along with pressure on Russia in various legal lawsuits; more attacks on its sporting institutions including threats to its hosting the 2018 Football World Cup, expect the same Western media headlines and stories to read something like this:
Putin’s Hopes Dashed
Vladimir Putin had hoped that his Syrian gambit would mean that the West would ease up on the sanctions. Putin’s strategy has clearly failed as the Western powers agreed to extend sanctions to continue to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine and Crimea.
Sergei Lavrov tried to put a brave face to this debacle by insisting that Russia never expected sanctions to be lifted any time soon.
This is how news cycles are made.