"With words we govern men" – Disraeli
Alexey Sazonov's blog on the Russia Today site is exceptionally brutal in its description of international politics. The issues it goes through are normally concealed beneath verbiage about Rights, Democracy and Freedom. Instead Sazonov describes an old-school, global colonial carve up. Who will "get" Iran - Russia, the US or China ?
"04 March, 2009, Should Russia Side With Iran or the US?
Russia halts their weapons deal with Iran until they finish talks with the US President Barack Obama. This is seemingly small news. However, the results of this can lay the foundation for long term international relations between the two countries and the way both nations’ foreign policies will be formed for many years to come. The reason is that there may be two outcomes. One potential outcome is the Russia continues on trading weapons with Iran. Another outcome is that Russia stops weapons trading and joins US in persuading Iran to halt their weapons build up and potential nuclear program.
The first outcome to consider is that Russia keeps on trading weapons with Iran, sending over experts and increasing cooperation between the two countries. Iran’s weapons build up and increased might will help it achieve its result of becoming the center for the Islamic world and will put it on the map as a country to be dealt with regarding any outside nation’s interests in the Middle East. This will help Iran further its interests in global affairs and will help them decrease the pressure that US and most of the West is putting on it with regard to its military and internal affairs.
For Moscow, there are benefits in this deal coming out of cooperation with Iran. Russian domestic weapons production will have huge sales contracts with Tehran and considering that Iran most likely will not buy weapons from the West Russian weapons and military production industry will hit the jackpot in the near future. They will basically supply all of Iran’s military with the equipment needed to make its military up to par with Western counterparts.
In addition, Russian gas and oil companies will be able to get huge contracts with Iranian oil and gas industries with regard to Caspian basin natural resources. Since Western companies will not be allowed to participate in the sale of contracts, Russian companies will most likely be the winners of most, if not all, contracts that Tehran may offer to build up their oil and gas industry. Considering this, United States currently sees it as in the national interest to keep Tehran out of the oil game because US and Iran bump heads very often and it will put in jeopardy the continuous flow of natural resources because US will have to use Tehran’s pipelines if it wants to diversify places from which it imports resources.
The next possible outcome is that Moscow will decide to stop trading weapons with Tehran and will start siding with the US to get Iran to cease their military build up and nuclear program. Although on the surface it looks like Russia will not gain as much from this deal with US, it actually has the potential to benefit from the externality that comes of this. That externality is a large influence in Central Asian countries, former Soviet Republics, which have access to the Caspian and all of the natural resources that come with it.
Simply put, if Russia sides with US over Iran, it will be a huge step forward in Moscow-Washington relations. This step will allow Russia to claim most of Central Asia all to itself. In turn, Washington will get what it wants from this deal, it will secure its national interests in Middle Easy by putting more pressure on Iran and once again giving America the power of influence in the region because Iran will hit the ceiling in what it can and cannot do.
However, there are drawbacks to this because Iran will not just stand by and watch as its fate is decided. If this plays out where Moscow decides to put its relationship with US first, Iran will be left to fend for itself and will most likely become bitter towards anyone from the outside unless they are a Middle Eastern country or China. China does not seem to have much interest in this currently. This alienation of Tehran could backfire and result in a possible heating up of relationships with respect to the West. Russia will also become a bystander and will basically abandon its ally.
The two possible outcomes both have major benefits and drawbacks. There is no question about what Washington wants – they want to put more pressure on Iran and gain back the leverage that they once had. For Russia it is a different question. Moscow will have to choose to either stay on the course that they are on now or ditch Iran. Most likely, top officials in Moscow are currently weighing the alternatives and looking at what would benefit Russia as a whole. What it will gain and what it will lose.
Currently, Russia is on good terms with mostly ideological countries where there is some form of radical rule. This is their window to become closer with a nation that may offer to be a good ally, despite the recent history between two nations. However, what has been proven in recent history is that cooperation produces better results rather than rivalry. Long term foreign policies of both the United States may be altered and the international scene between the two nations may change, depending on the outcome of this deal."
Some interesting comments on the blog here:-http://www.russiatoday.com/About_Us/Blogs/With_words_we_govern_men___Disraeli.html