There has been plain talking – From Russia, and there has been Snake-oil Selling from three western ‘used car dealers’ [US, NATO, OSCE], but so far nothing material …let’s be more specific – no written response to Russia’s plainly stated prerequisites [‘demands’ by any other name] for further dialog to take place, and to avoid any unilateral action by Russia …and let’s be even more specific – such written response must [repeat, MUST] be entirely in the affirmative for the Russian response not to be something the people of Europe and the USA would not like to experience.
This is brinkmanship on the part of the west. Perhaps its last such gambit. But that is par for the course with used car dealers, isn’t it? But a point is coming when Russia expects an answer. It doesn’t matter to the Russians what the answer is, they just need the answer – and in writing.
That point in time I think will be Friday, Jan 21. I can’t see them waiting much longer, because they have preparations to make. So, let’s look to Friday as being a ‘High Noon’ moment [you remember the old 1952 Gary Cooper movie I expect, with the immortal song line – “He made a vow while in state prison. Vowed it’d be my life or his’n”]. This time it is a ‘High Noon’ for the west, but chiefly for the US. Which is why Russia is so keen to get an answer directly from the US.
They need something concrete to work on – from whatever angle. I do not know what they have planned – but I can guess …and I’m sure they would rather work with the west than to do what is necessary, and well within their capability, to create a situation where their ‘demands’ are realised – to the full.
Not that anything is going to happen on Friday, whichever way it goes …and perhaps not for several weeks or months. But it will happen – for good, or ill. Because we know what the answer is going to be, don’t we?
So, what is scheduled for Friday, Jan 21? Well, that depends on which way you are looking. From one viewpoint, sherrif ‘Tex’ Blinken is going to sidle (or perhaps slither) his way to the showdown, with shiny badge on his chest and clutching either the necessary document or another bottle of snake-oil in his shaky hand, while the gunslinger ‘opponent’ ‘Butch’ Lavrov waits patiently for the moment of destiny as the clock bell strikes midday under the relentless Sun. It would be duplicitous of me to describe the other viewpoint – since that is not the one which will get reported to the world [has it ever not been thus?].
But make no mistake, this – or some other ‘Friday’, but I reckon this is it (can’t you feel the tension mounting?) – will definitely be a ‘moment of destiny’, not only for the players but potentially for all humanity. The sad thing is, that most of humanity has no idea this is going to happen.
To bring this down to some sort of nuts and bolts reality, here are a few current stories from TASS which explain most of the points I have made here…
And here, just for good measure is a typical bottle of US snake-oil…