I think the positions are very clear surrounding the doomed talks in Geneva today between Russia and the US. And the positions allow no room for manoeuvering or even much discussion. Not that much discussion is required or called for. At least that is Russia’s intent – both stated and implied. The US on the other hand cannot even shake hands with itself without indulging in elaborate discussions – whether relevant or not. The talks therefore are actually a necessary but totally pointless waste of time. What Russia wants is just a signed and verified legal document granting all of their valid and reasonable security guarantees. They are not going to get that, or anything like it. The US is just coming to the meetings to talk. Nothing else. And the last thing they intend to hand over to the Russians is a signed document of the necessary kind to make the meetings a success.
If the meeting last longer than one hour (I was going to say five minutes but let’s grant a little leeway) then the Americans have won. If the Russians wind things up in the middle of the US talkfest and they leave the venue sans doco, then the Russians have won. In fact, in both cases, neither party has won, and neither have the onlookers (you and I). But the Russians will not be dismayed at that outcome because they will have what they need (the moral victory of a refusal of their legitimate requests) to do what they already knowe they will have to do to ensure that they do in fact achieve their just cause. And woe betide anyone who gets in their way.
I have to say that I am in Russia’s corner on this. They have the moral high ground, having suffered long and hard to find another way – any other acceptable way – to peaceful co-existence with a ruthless and morally bankrupt enemy in the western nations. Let it play out however it will – even if it comes to the end of all of us (which is unlikely).
Before I forget why I am writing this, let me point to an article today in the Bulgarian newspaper ‘Trud’ (translates as ‘The Labour’, I understand), which reports recent statements by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and various US Department of State officials. An English translation of the article (for your convenience) is shown in full below.
I found it to be quite amusing despite the seriousness of the situation, and not least due to the author’s quite deliberate misuse of the US SoS name on four occasions within its lines. See what you think…
One day before the start of the Moscow – Washington talks
White House doesn’t expect a breakthrough
Blinkjn warned of the risk of confrontation
Russia is not making any allowances for American pressure on the Ukraine crisis negotiations and will not back down from its requests for security guarantees from the West. This was stated in an interview with RIA Novosti by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister on Thursday in Brussels.
He will lead a delegation in Moscow, which will hold talks with representatives of Washington, tomorrow in Geneva. The American delegation will be headed by First Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
After these talks, the NATO-Russia and OSCE meetings will be held on January 12 and 13.
In Brussels, however, recognize that it is possible that diplomatic efforts will end abruptly, and after a single meeting. “I can’t rule out anything, this is quite a possible scenario, ” he said in Brussels.
And I snapped, ” We certainly don’t make concessions under the pressure and threats that are constantly being sent from Western participants in the upcoming negotiations.”
At the time, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinky warned Russia that there was a risk of confrontation.
” There is a path of dialogue and diplomacy in trying to resolve these differences and avoid confrontation, ” Blink told cnn. “The other way is confrontation, and great consequences for Russia if it resumes aggression against Ukraine,” he added.
Blinkmann said he doesn’t expect a breakthrough in the U.S.-Russia talks, but expressed hope that there will be areas where both sides can reach agreement.