The combination of low oil prices and U.S./EU economic sanctions cornered Russia. Such a fast and deep crisis of the national currency brings many consequences and clear perspective of world instability. What will Putin do next? We can imagine just anything, including another military action.
The Western world reacted to Crimean/Ukrainian crisis with refusal and firm stance, including economic sanctions. But one key fact was omitted: Russia is still one of the three world superpowers. So the approach to this country should be alwayscareful and using “soft power” as much as possible. But the West took another stance, a confrontation, not realizing, how risky are these decisions of limiting Russian influence in Europe and pushing Russian borders back.
It seems, that the Crimean/Ukrainian crisis was Putin´s message to European Union. After all, Russia always declared that they perceive any expansion of the EU to their own borders as a threat. And Putin´s reaction was decisive and agressive: instead of just watching how the world around is changing, Russia entered the political and even real battlefield with Ukrainian invasion. The sleeping bear was awoken.
Another events followed: Russia started searching for new allies, to strengthen friendly ties. China in the first place, India later, and even North Korea. From these moves, it is clear that Russia felt endangered, and Putin decided to save life space for his country, making even very controversial decisions. But from his point of view, it was the question of survival.
Note, that this situation is very beneficial for North Korea. Their world importance is rising in such unstable conditions, and we can expect more opened North Korean approach to the world, for getting more power and respect. In other words, they will show more friendly face, to gain the possibilities, that are distributed during every serious crisis. They will participate in following negotiations, breaking their isolation.
One thing is sure – if Putin will start to blame the West from causing Russian crisis, we can expect really serious things, including another military action. Because it could be the only solution for Putin, how to save face in front of the world. He will not just watch, how his country is collapsing. He is a cold and calculating player, able to make unexpected and bold moves. Nobody should underestimate him, and he should be respected as dangerous adversary.
There is one logical target for such an action: the Middle East. There is a power vacuum, after the U.S. cleared positions, and also the world urges to solve the dangerous crisis there, and it could inspire Putin to enter this relatively open space, and expand the influence of Russia, bringing optimism to Russian people and economy, improving his own position of power and the perception of Russia by theworld media and politicans, altering their decisions.
Moreover, entering Middle East, he could easily influence the OPEC, and they could start listening to him, raising the oil prices and helping him to save Russian economy. And he would promise them to keep the Middle East stabilized, limiting IS influence and wide local unrest.
The U.S. will have to make many difficult decisions. The current situation in the Middle East is very complicated, and with Russia entering this realm, the U.S. could be pushed back, losing ground and influence.
For the U.S. economy, there can be indirect consequences, like pesimism on the financial markets, general tension in business, and worries of uncertain future. Such a pity – the predictions for 2015 seemed so optimistic, with hope, that the 2008 World Financial Crisis will be finally finished. That time, the crisis came from the West – this time, it comes from the East, maybe even as a retaliation, as a tool ofUnconventional Warfare.
Well, this will be no calm Christmas.
Download as PDF: The Russian Crossroads by Alan Svejk